Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry has defended the ACT government's investment in social housing, as she launched designs for a new development in Canberra's inner-north to support people facing homelessness.
The ACT government faced criticism this week over its housing supply targets for 2019-20, which showed less than four per cent of blocks to be sold off this year would be set aside for public and community housing.
Greens housing spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur said that allocation was far too low to meet growing demand for affordable housing in Canberra.
But Ms Berry, who is the territory's housing minister, said the government was supporting those who needed it most, pointing to its investment in the Common Ground project in Dickson.
The government has budgeted $2.4 million for planning and preliminary work on the proposed Hawdon Place development, which would include 20 social and 20 affordable housing units, as well as a cafe, social enterprise space and a communal garden.
The mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units would accommodate people facing chronic homelessness, including older woman, children and single parents.
"This is an excellent example of the ACT government supporting people who need that support, and people who live in Common Ground often have a number of complex needs," Ms Berry said on Thursday.
"So it's more than just building accommodation, it's about wrapping around all of the different kind of support services.
"It's not just about building homes, but actually about building communities around those people."
Promised by Labor ahead of the 2016 election, the Dickson development would be Canberra's second Common Ground, following the opening of a 40-unit complex in Gungahlin in 2015.
Tradespeople and businesses, including IKEA and Domayne, donated labour and goods to help fit out the Gungahlin development, and Common Ground chair Diane Kargas Bray was hopeful of a similar outpouring of community support in Dickson.
"If you've got the capacity as a business to help, we need whitegoods, we need furniture, we need everything that a family would need that has come from a devastating situation," Mrs Kargas Bray said.
Thursday also marked the start of public consultation on proposed new planning rules for the now vacant Dickson site, which would allow the complex to be built.
A building of up to 23 metres, or six storeys, in height would be permitted in the centre of the block, under the proposed new rules.
The remainder of the complex is likely to be made up of two- to four-storey buildings.
Consultation on the complex's proposed design and planning rules for the site will run for eight weeks, before a development application is lodged later this year.
Ms Berry was hopeful tenants could moving into the complex by 2021.
While the Common Ground project is progressing, the government's plans for the wider redevelopment of Dickson's Section 72 have stalled amid drawn out talks with the Salvation Army, which has a long-term lease over land running through the middle of the precinct.
Urban Renewal Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Salvation Army had previously signaled an intent to surrender its lease, but was now weighing up its options.
Ms Stephen-Smith said if the Salvation Army did choose to retain its lease, the government would need to consider how that site could be integrated into a redeveloped Section 72.
"I understand there is some frustration in the community about the stop-start nature of the conversation around the future of Section 72 as a whole," she said.
"We do want to ensure that, in the longer term, Section 72 is developed as an integrated precinct that meets the communities needs."