Homelessness a ‘massive’ problem and needs a national solution: forum

Greens parliamentarian Caroline Le Couteur has called for unused Canberra buildings to be opened to the homeless.

Speaking at a forum called by retirees worried about the cost of housing and homelessness in Canberra, Ms Le Couteur said buildings slated for demolition could be used as temporary shelters.

She pointed to a “pop-up homelessness shelter” scheme in Melbourne, and also to Safe Shelter’s use of churches in Canberra for the homeless, but she said the Labor government had originally baulked at changing zoning permission for Safe Shelter’s scheme.

The idea was supported by Liberal housing spokesman Mark Parton.

The forum, called by residents of Haydon Retirement Community in Bruce, criticised the ACT government for overcrowding the housing market, federal taxes which incentivised housing investment, low wages and a lack of social services.

ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry did not attend.

Mr Parton said the price of land in Canberra had increased dramatically and the government was only growing the city “up” by approving more apartments.

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Source: The Canberra Times