Canberran women facing rental stress or at risk of homelessness will soon have a path to home ownership through an innovative Build-to-Rent-to-Buy pilot program backed by the Federal and ACT Governments.
Up to 22 affordable long-term rental homes will be built in Belconnen as part of the pilot program, supported by the Albanese Labor Government through up to $7.14 million in concessional loans from the National Housing Infrastructure Fund (NHIF).
The mix of one, two and three bedroom homes will be made available to single women who have secure work, but whose lower income means they have little or no deposit to buy a home.
Minister for Housing Julie Collins said the scheme, run by community housing provider Community Housing Canberra Ltd. would support tenants to save, with rent at less than 75 per cent of the market rate, and an option of buying their home at the end of a 10-year lease.
“Too many women across Australia don’t have access to safe and secure housing,” Minister Collins said.
“This will be the first step in changing that for a number of women in Canberra. This will not only provide an affordable place to rent – it is a stepping stone to the security of home ownership.
“I’m proud that the Albanese Labor Government is helping fund such an innovative pilot project.”
The project is also being supported by a $4.5 million grant from the ACT Government.
ACT Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry MLA said the project reflected the ACT Government’s commitment to putting housing first for those in need in the Canberra community.
“This is not just about providing a roof over women’s heads; it’s about giving a real solution to the housing crisis many women face in our community,” Minister Berry said.
“This initiative will enable women to focus on building the future they want without struggling to make ends meet.”
Construction is due to commence in December 2023.
The project is the first to be funded from the NHIF in the ACT since the Albanese Government unlocked $575 million to help fund more social and affordable rental housing in November.
Minister Collins said she was committed to ensuring more Australians have a safe and affordable home.
“We are not wasting a day when it comes to addressing Australia’s housing challenges and making sure more Australians have a safe and affordable place to call home,” she said.
“Our housing agenda includes the single biggest investment in social and affordable rental housing by a federal government in more than a decade – the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.
“A key part of that Fund is the thousands of homes it will help build for women fleeing domestic violence and for older women at risk of experiencing homelessness.”
The Albanese Labor Government is taking a number of additional actions in next month’s Budget to improve the supply of rental housing, including to support more social and affordable rental housing.
Next month’s Budget will include an additional $2 billion for more social and affordable rental housing, with an increase to NHFIC’s liability cap from $5.5 billion to $7.5 billion from 1 July 2023 to provide low cost and long-term finance to community housing providers.
The Government will also offer incentives in the Budget to increase the supply of rental housing by changing arrangements for investments in build-to-rent accommodation.