As part of their 2020 election statement, Vinnies urgently calls for an investment into affordable housing so that Canberrans like Amy* don’t experience homelessness when already faced with extremely difficult circumstances.
Escaping from a domestic violence situation, Amy arrived in Canberra knowing very few people and having nowhere to live. She and her child spent six months homeless, couch-surfing to stay off the streets.
“I was scared. After leaving that situation, and having recently had a miscarriage, I was an emotional wreck,” said Amy.
Canberrans experiencing disadvantage or other issues are being forced into housing stress by having to pay 30% of their income on rent. For people surviving on Newstart, there are no affordable private rental properties in the ACT, according to the 2020 Anglicare Rental Affordability Report.
Unable to access the private rental market, they are then reliant on ACT Housing.
“I was knocked back from so many rental properties because I just didn’t have enough money,” said Amy.
“Without a secure and affordable home, allowing safety and stability, the journey of rebuilding one’s life, relationships and reimagining one’s futures is even harder,” said St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn President John Feint.
Eventually Amy was connected to Vinnies Family and Youth Homelessness Service and met her case manager, Nicole. She was able to secure an ACT Housing property and worked through some health difficulties.
Amy is now in stable, secure housing with a job and a supportive partner.
“I didn’t get any support until I was working with Nicole. I am so grateful to her, and Vinnies,” said Amy.
Vinnies is calling on the ACT Government to ensure that children and adults in the ACT have access to safe, habitable, and affordable housing. To ensure that people like Amy are no longer left in the dark.
Vinnies strongly supports the call by ACTCOSS that the ACT mandate 15% of the Land Release program be set aside for the supply of public, community, and affordable housing.
“Our community cannot address its serious issues if we do not first address the housing crisis,” said Mr Feint.
“We hope that the incoming Government acknowledges and works with us and the community to support those in need,” he said.
*name changed to protect the individual
For the full Election Statement visit: https://www.vinnies.org.au/2020ACTElectionStatement