Affordable Housing Innovation Fund

The ACT Government has established the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to encourage and support new approaches to increasing the supply of affordable housing in the ACT.

The focus of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund Round 1 is to increase the supply of affordable rental housing options for households who are in housing stress in the private rental market, or are looking for options other than public housing.

We are looking to support pilot projects, and provide funding to support the initial stages of innovative new programs until they can become self-sustaining.

On 21 August 2018, the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry, MLA announced the first three projects to be funded under the $1 million Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.

CategoryDescription
Affordable Rental Real Estate Management Landlords provide their property to either a not-for-profit real estate agency or to another social housing provider to be rented out to eligible low income tenants at below market rent.

In a highly competitive round, Community Housing Canberra Incorporated has received funding of $230,000 to establish a new affordable rental real estate management model, based on the approach of HomeGround.
Co-Housing A group of interested purchasers come together and collectively design and fund their own multi-unit housing project.

Two successful co-housing projects are also receiving funding contributions―Environmental Collective Housing Organisation ($15,000) and Smart Urban Villages ($35,000). These project provide an opportunity to test innovative, sustainable design with shared use of common spaces or with collective ownership models, similar to the Nightingale model.

If the projects demonstrate the co-housing model can successfully deliver affordable housing, then they have potential to be repeated on different sites, at different scales.

Funding categories

Round 2 of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund will open in 2019 with funding available for projects in the following categories.

1.Specialist Disability Accommodation Project

As part of the consultation on the development of a new ACT Housing Strategy, the Government met with a number of disability support services to discuss the challenge of accessible, affordable housing for people with disabilities. A key outcome from the consultation was the need for more dedicated affordable housing for rent or for purchase that incorporated the highest levels of accessibility.

This initiative will seek expressions of interest from the private or community sector to come forward with projects that boost the supply of accessible low cost accommodation for either rent or purchase targeted at persons living with a disability.

The initiative will call for innovative solutions that will not only incorporate high levels of universal design, but will enable better social inclusion particularly for persons who may be currently housed in inappropriate or institutional type accommodation.

2.Supported Housing Projects on Underutilised Community Facility Land.

A key theme across many stakeholder groups during the consultation on the development of a new ACT Housing Strategy was the greater utilisation of existing properties and land.

This initiative will seek expressions of interest from lessees of underutilised community facility land to access funding to facilitate projects that boost the supply of affordable supported accommodation. This could be further targeted (but not limited) to cohorts in the greatest need including elderly women, families escaping domestic violence, or persons transitioning out of the justice system.

3.Dedicated Accommodation for Low Income Families Escaping Domestic Violence

Access to safe and secure accommodation is a considerable challenge for low income families escaping domestic violence. More refuge accommodation and better utilisation of rooms between crisis, medium and long-term properties was identified as an area of need during the consultation on developing a new Housing Strategy. Additionally, supported accommodation models that provide support for independent living are also seen to be in great demand.

This initiative will seek expressions of interest from the private or community sector to come forward with projects that boost the supply of specialist housing for this growing cohort.

4.Other Innovative Approaches to Boosting Affordable Housing Supply

In keeping with the wide ranging scope and intent of the Housing Innovation Fund, the fourth project will not be limited to any target cohort or delivery method but rather seek expressions of interest for projects or ideas that could potentially boosts the supply of affordable housing. There are many new and innovative approaches to affordable housing and this expression of interest will enable one or a number of these ideas to be investigated or facilitated.

For further information, call Access Canberra on 13 22 81, email affordablehousing@act.gov.au or submit an enquiry online.

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