Sunday, 21 April 2024
    Co-ops could provide housing solution

    Co-ops could provide housing solution

    The ACT government is being urged to consider unconventional housing models to help address the city's access and affordability crisis after the territory's predicted population was revised to more than 500,000 in a decade, ABC News reports.

    Before the pandemic, Canberra's population was forecast to rise from 436,000 in 2021 to 480,500 in 2031.

    In 2020 the population was already higher than expected at 454,000, but new predictions show a rise to 550,000 people by 2033.

    That's almost 100,000 more than the current figure, and nearly 70,000 more than the previous estimate.

    It has prompted concerns that the capital was not built to cope with the predicted number of people, and current housing strategies will not meet their needs.

    The Canberra Student Housing Co-operative was established in 2010 with a single unit at Havelock House and a single goal: to provide residents with secure accommodation at a fraction of the market rent.

    Now almost 30 students share five dorm-style units — and the responsibility for their upkeep — in an unconventional living arrangement.

    Resident Adhyan Dhull said that everyone who lives at the co-op worked together to keep the place running.

    "A lot of student residents or halls, they have admin staff [doing duties] … all the way from issue resolution, finances, paperwork, things like that," he said.

    "At the co-op we basically run things ourselves."

    Saskia Partridge, another resident, was paying $300 a week renting studio accommodation at the Australian National University but soon realised that was not an affordable option.

    She then found the co-op, and was able to keep studying.

    Ms Partridge said co-operative housing "really does work", and the model could work more broadly to address the city's housing crisis.


    ACT government urged to consider unconventional housing solutions like co-op living ahead of population rise (ABC News)


    Saskia Partridge and Adhyan Dhull are both residents of the Canberra Student Housing Co-operative in the city's north.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)