Where Jen Large lives in Braddon, there's two things that give her almost daily pause.
The first is the sprawling rainbow roundabout commemorating the legalisation of gay marriage, still bright and welcoming more than a year on from Australia's historic "yes" vote.
The second is the high rent.
"I love Canberra, I'm a [gay woman] myself and it's such a welcoming city," she said.
"But on a single income it's almost out of your reach to be able to rent by yourself. Years ago, you could get a place for $250 a week, now you can't much for less than $400."
On Tuesday, Ms Large was paying particular attention to the ACT government's new affordable housing agenda at the release of this year's budget.
Forty-nine government properties will be redeveloped in the next financial year as part of the first stage of the ACT's new public housing plan, which aims to renew its current 1000 properties and build an extra 200 in the next five years.
All up, 700 existing government properties will be sold off and 300 knocked down with 700 new homes to be built on those sites.
One hundred and forty properties will be bought during the life of the plan and 360 built on new land.
Housing Minister Yvette Berry said the ACT was the only jurisdiction in the country that was growing its public housing stock.
But she stressed that the increase in properties on existing blocks did not signal a shift away from the ACT's traditional salt and pepper approach that sees public housing spread across suburbs.
"It's not high density, it's low to maybe medium density housing that will be replacing single dwellings on individual sites with two, three or four homes," Ms Berry said.
Amid warnings from the sector of a bottleneck in both crisis accommodation and supported social housing, $2.4 million has also been set aside to build forty units for the second Common Ground project planned for Dickson.
The new build will offer a mix of one, two and three bedroom dwellings for people experiencing homelessness along with community spaces and on-site support services.
The design is still being ironed out, following community consultation, but its final build will be capped at six storeys high.
Ms Large rents with her partner and sells window glazing treatments by trade. As the cost of living increases in Canberra, she said she was seeing more and more people turning to solutions like double glazing to save on growing energy costs.
"I think rates going up is hard for people," she said.
Those on concession cards were granted a small boon in Tuesday's budget as the utility rebate rose by $46 to $700 a year per household.
The pensioner duty concession scheme, which helps those eligible downsize or move to more accessible homes, has also been extended for another year.
At the ACT Council of Social Service, Susan Helyar welcomed the budget's increased spend on health, justice reinvestment and disability services.
"We see the government has recognised the need to better respond to highly at-risk groups," Ms Helyar said.
"But the bulk of the new spending is in the government sector, not in community-services. [And] there was nothing to extend the eligibility of concessions to people who are working but earning very low incomes."
There was also no new money for women's refuges or crisis shelters in this year's budget, but the ACT public service will begin rolling out family violence response training to all staff, as well as those on the front line in hospitals, schools and emergency services.
Minister for Youth and Community Services Rachel Stephen-Smith said policy work on a new model for teens and children experiencing homelessness but too young to stay in crisis shelters would also be developed alongside the sector
Ms Stephen-Smith said the funding would come from existing resources. While she did not provide further detail on Tuesday, she said the problem had been singled out as a priority.
MORE BUDGET NEWS
A new family violence death review model will also be developed, similar to the existing children's death review committee, with a view to make recommendations on preventing similar incidents in the future.
All domestic violence initiatives, including an extension of the Family Safety hub's free legal advice pilot and the Room4Change men's therapeutic behaviour program, will be funded by the $30 household family safety levy, introduced in 2016.
Each year, the levy raises close to $5 million and is expected to bring in $20 million over the next four years to go towards $24 million in new family violence initiatives.
Ms Large said she supported the levy but said it was a shame more money was not going directly to women's refuges. She also welcomed a new 12-month scoping study that will consider how to improve health services for Canberra's LGBTQI community. Too often, she said, people on the margins were shut out.
"There's a lot that needs to be done," Ms Large said. "When I came out in the 80s, Canberra was ultra-conservative....now there's lovely signs like the roundabout that that's changed. But we need to provide LGBTQI support around all of Canberra not just Braddon."
The ACT's current public housing renewal program is due to wrap up soon, having already replaced 1288 ageing properties.
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