A $61 million investment into public housing would see properties be built across the city and would be targeted at older Canberrans and those with a disability, ACT housing minister Yvette Berry said.
But some have said the announcement fell short of expectations and would not help with a social housing shortfall of 3000 properties.
The ACT government has defended its announcement saying the territory has the largest per capita investment in public housing per 1000 people of the states and territories.
The investment would include $32 million worth of land allocated to public housing. As well, there would be an additional $20 million spent on the government's public housing renewal program - an extra 60 dwellings would be built on top of an already promised 200.
The government said the investment would see more than $1 billion spent on public housing in the ten years to 2025.
It came as data released earlier this week showed there was a shortfall of 3000 social housing properties in the territory. When asked about the social housing shortfall, Ms Berry instead pointed to the per capita investment. She said the territory had 26 properties per 1000 people, almost double the national average of 12.
But Ms Berry said the territory government could not be expected to pay for social housing alone and she reiterated the ACT's plea for the federal government to waive a $115 million housing debt. She said federal government investment would make a real difference.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he had a verbal agreement with federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg about the refinancing of two historic housing loans.
Mr Barr also defended the government's investment. He said there would be further announcements around housing in the coming weeks but it was unclear if this would be around social or community housing. He hinted agreements would be made with the private sector.
"We're not finishing here but we don't want you to think this $1 billion investment over 10 years is insignificant," he said.
"There is not enough recognition of the fact when you see the stock going backwards everywhere else across the nation, the second-smallest government is making the largest investment per capita by a country mile."
The government's announcement would have minimal impact on Canberra's social housing shortage, according to Havelock Housing chief executive Andrew Rowe. He also rejected the per capita argument, saying other states and territories had invested in the community housing sector.
"The ACT has the highest level of public housing per capita because every other state has moved towards supporting community housing providers to deliver social housing because this is a more cost-effective, high quality service and they can leverage their stock to grow," he said.
Community Housing Canberra chief executive Andrew Hannan said while it was great to see housing targeted at disabled and older Canberrans it would be a missed opportunity if no further announcements were made in the lead up to the election around investment into community housing.
ACT Opposition Leader Alistair Coe said he believed the real challenge was housing affordability and many who struggled were not eligible for public housing.
"Whilst social housing is a part of the solution a much more significant part of the solution has got to be to put downward pressure on rent and make housing affordability in general more accessible," he said.
While the ACT Greens welcomed the announcement, housing campaign spokeswoman Rebecca Vassarotti said the city needed a "once-in-a-generation" investment in social and affordable housing. The party has proposed $400 million for 1000 new social housing properties.
ACT Council of Social Service chief executive Dr Emma Campbell said the government's investment was much needed and there needed to be oversight of the program's implementation.
"We also need strong community oversight of the ACT Housing Strategy to ensure that implementation is timely and new public housing is constructed across the Canberra region and is located close to transport links, local commerce, social services and community facilities," she said.