Capital at housing affordability 'crisis point', organisation says
Housing costs in Canberra have skyrocketed by 63 per cent over the past six years, according to community housing organisation ACT Shelter.
The average price of a Canberra home almost doubled between 2000 and 2003 alone according to the organisation, whose chairperson Deb Pippen said the capital had reached a "crisis point" in housing affordability.
"Available crisis accommodation is unable to meet needs and every night people in the ACT seeking refuge are turned away and forced to sleep either in their car, in inappropriate situations and even on the street," she said.
The figures were detailed in ACT Shelter's policy statement, launched at Havelock House on Monday, which called for increased awareness of and investment in housing affordability.
The development of an Indigenous housing strategy was amongst the recommendations outlined in the document, which stated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience disproportionately high rates of homelessness and overcrowding.
While Indigenous people comprise less than 2 per cent of the ACT population, ACT Shelter stated that approximately 10 per cent of people accessing specialist homelessness services in the capital were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
ACT Shelter also recommended training for housing staff to improve responses to mental health and housing matters; exploring new housing models for students and apprentices; and increasing crisis accommodation.
Housing Minister Shane Rattenbury attended the launch, telling the crowd that the government's land release program was due to slow down as staff ploughed through an earlier backlog.
"If you go back to the previous term, they got behind and they've put a lot of effort into catching up," he said.
"The latest projections are that the rate of land sales will start to slow down again now because they feel like they've got over the hump."
However federal Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh, also speaking at the event, said Canberrans were living in a city of "huge supply constraints".
"It's always seemed odd to me that the second most expensive city in Australia should be the one that's surrounded by sheep paddocks," he said.