Half the units at a government-owned Kaleen social and affordable rental housing complex remain unoccupied more than a year after construction was completed.
The ACT government is in the process of finalising a contract with a community housing provider to manage more than 30 units at the complex. This comes more than eight months after a call for tenders closed for the site.
The Canberra Times understands a preferred tenderer had been selected by mid-January.
There were 66 units built at the site on Baldwin Drive, on the block of the former Canberra Bocce Club. Of those, 33 units comprised of public housing units, managed by Housing ACT, with the other half to be affordable rental properties managed by a community housing provider.
There are four tenants yet to move into the Housing ACT properties and the 33 units to be externally managed are vacant.
In August last year, the ACT government called for a tenders from community housing providers to manage the affordable rental properties. The call for tenders closed in October last year but a spokeswoman from the ACT Community Services Directorate said the process had not yet completed.
"Housing ACT undertook a process to select a community housing provider to manage the 33 affordable rental properties that will target low to middle income households most in need, with a focus on older people, women and people living with a disability," she said.
"The outcome of that process will be finalised very soon."
Seven community housing organisations submitted tenders and the government spokeswoman said Housing ACT anticipated a contract with the preferred tenderer would be signed within the next two weeks.
The Canberra Times understands organisations that had applied for the tender but were unsuccessful were informed in a letter on January 13 pre-contract negotiations had begun with a preferred tenderer and an outcome would be advised at a later date.
The spokeswoman indicated events such as bushfire smoke, the bushfire threat and the COVID-19 pandemic had held up this process.
"Housing ACT has been focused on providing [and] delivering unprecedented levels of intensive support to help people experiencing homelessness, public housing tenants and community service providers," she said.
"These conditions have created challenges to ordinary activities like moving house and disrupted government and community services in their ordinary work like providing face-to-face service provision."
The spokeswoman said the development, built as part of the ACT public housing renewal program, was handed over from the builder to Housing ACT on March 20, 2019.
The 33 affordable rental units at the Kaleen site were part of the ACT government's housing plan where it pledged to offer 151 homes to community housing providers.
When the call for tenders was announced, Housing Minister Yvette Berry said at the time it was part of the government's commitment to grow the supply of affordable rental housing.
"Community housing providers play a critical role in the ACT housing market and the government is committed to growing their capacity locally," she said.
Affordable rental properties are rented out at a below market rate and the asking rent is generally determined by a percentage of a household's income.
The spokeswoman said of all of the Housing ACT properties had been allocated and that modifications were made to some of the government-managed units before tenants moved in.
"Following construction, as part of Housing ACT's one-on-one client support during the allocations process, Housing ACT identified and completed significant modifications to the development for individual tenants as well as the automation of all entry doors to each block," she said.
As of May 18, there were almost 2500 applications for social housing in the territory. Of those, 180 were for priority housing, 1453 were for high needs housing and 865 were for standard housing.