The ACT is supporting an innovative pilot program to provide housing for at-risk and vulnerable women through a build-to-rent-to-buy (BtRtB) model.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), Community Housing Canberra, and Ginninderry – which is a joint venture between the ACT government’s Suburban Land Agency (SLA) and property developer Riverview.
Currently in its nascent stage, the organisations will be developing a proof-of-concept model over the course of the next six months, which will involve identifying potential sites for the project and designing a funding structure.
At present, a hypothetical scenario for a woman seeking housing under the plan would see her pay 74.9 per cent of market rent to a community housing provider over a 10-year rental period, during which time she would benefit from a savings plan created on her behalf. After her rental period is up, she has the option to buy the housing, adjusting for her share in any capital growth.
If the project is successful, they expect to break ground in late 2022.
Nathan Dal Bon, NHFIC chief executive, said that the program has the potential to change the landscape for women in need of housing throughout the country.
“With vulnerable women’s housing needs increasingly in focus, this initiative provides a great opportunity to explore affordable pathways to home ownership for at-risk women,” he said.
“We’re particularly excited that this bold initiative puts NHFIC at the forefront of housing finance innovation and could be leveraged more broadly to support vulnerable and at-risk women across Australia.”
Andrew Hannan, CEO of Community Housing Canberra, explained how this model would differ from the affordable housing options already available in Australia.
“Through this housing initiative we aim to provide women with low-but-secure employment incomes, often with little or no deposit, with access to a safe, secure and affordable home with a built-in pathway to home ownership. The bundling is the key difference, and we believe we can deliver a greater and potentially generational impact for these women and their families,” Mr Hannan said.
He noted that the organisation receives new inquiries every day from women of all ages, and it was important to be proactively working to better address this demand.
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Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.