Media Release: Bendigo women to get footing on the housing ladder

Bendigo women and their children who have experienced family violence or are at risk of homelessness will have access to safe and affordable housing with a new $2.2 million project being developed by YWCA National Housing.

YWCA National Housing and Property Development Director Jan Berriman said the build-to-rent project was a first-off for YWCA, which had been working with women in the region for more than a century.

“As a specialist women’s housing provider, YWCA National Housing has worked with GJ Gardner Homes to design these townhouses to meet the needs of some of Bendigo’s most vulnerable women,” she said.

Once completed, these townhouses will be held by YWCA and made available for 75% of the market rental rate. Women and children on lower incomes who have experienced family violence will be prioritised as tenants.

“Many women in the Greater Bendigo area face serious barriers to affordable housing, particularly those who have experienced family violence,” Ms Berriman said.

“One-third of working women in Bendigo earn less than $400 a week and more than half of women of working age in the region are not in the labour force.

“This crisis is set to worsen with the region’s population forecast to rise to 156,000 by 2036, requiring an additional 900 homes per year in the region.”

Ms. Berriman said long-term residents of the five two-storey townhouses would be given the option to buy their homes in the future.

“Women comprise the fastest group of people at risk of homelessness in Australia because they are often unable to afford the private rental market and demand for affordable rental properties outstrips supply.

“Bendigo is a stark example of this tragic reality.”

The family-friendly three-bedroom townhouses will be designed with sustainability and security in mind, and include solar panels, double glazing, and water saving techniques. To help residents connect with services, education, employment and community, each townhouse will have NBN connectivity. They are expected to be completed in mid-2020.

GJ Gardner Homes Director Danny Breen said he was proud to partner with YWCA on the project.

“Our organisation is committed to giving back to the community, and we look forward to delivering wonderful homes for five women-headed households,” Mr Breen said.

Ms Berriman said the build-to-rent initiative reflected YWCA National Housing’s commitment to improving women’s social, economic and educational participation through the provision of safe, secure and affordable housing.

Applications and eligibility criteria for these townhouses will be released in March 2020. YWCA National Housing will be working with local providers to refer clients to this opportunity.

Apply Now: YWCA National Housing and YWCA Housing Board

Are you passionate about women’s housing? Are you looking to contribute to the YWCA movement and vision of a world where all women, young women and girls have access to safe and affordable housing.

We are now seeking applications for appropriately qualified people to join the YWCA National Housing and YWCA Housing Board. YWCA National Housing and YWCA Housing (National Housing) are both subsidiaries of YWCA Australia, the national association of YWCA’s in Australia which is part of the world YWCA movement.

The National Housing board comprises up to 9 independent directors, each appointed on a skills basis. The board of directors aims to comprise at least 30% young women (age 30 or under at the time of their appointment).

Directors are expected to participate in board subcommittees as needed, in the areas of: 

  • Finance, Audit & Risk
  • Property & Assets
  • People, Culture and Governance

Please send your application to [email protected]

Young women are encouraged to apply.

Applications close on 27 September 2019.

One Year Anniversary of our Lakehouse pop-up!

Women over 50 are the fastest growing group of people experiencing housing instability in Australia – often as a result of pay inequity, little to no superannuation or savings, divorce, domestic and family violence and taking time doing unpaid care work.

To combat this growing inequity for women, YWCA worked with our partners to create Lakehouse – a “pop up” housing project that gives us the capacity to keep nearly 40 older women safe, warm and supported at any one time. Learn more about Lakehouse.

In one year Lakehouse has:

  • Housed over 50 women, 50% of whom have experienced domestic or family violence
  • Won a Powerhousing Australia award in the category of Leadership and Innovation
  • Enabled the majority of women leaving Lakehouse to move into public housing or the private rental market

Lakehouse would not be possible without the support of our wonderful partners who helped transform Lakehouse into a home: MetriconResidential GroupDezign ElectricsReeceAdes Dingley PlumbingTwo GoodTonner TransportKitchen InnovationsAll Over BinsBunnings Port MelbournePrime GroupSilver ChefMilton GroupSigma, CaspacareCity of Port PhillipLord Mayors Charitable FoundationRotary – South Melbourne and DHHS.

YWCA would particularly like to thank Rob Pradolin from Housing All Australians for his ongoing support and his innovative solutions to homelessness.

YWCA National Housing and YWCA Housing Board Changes

Caption: Richmond House, one of YWCA National Housing’s properties

We would like to announce some recent changes to roles on the YWCA National Housing and YWCA Housing Boards. As of 1 July 2019, Anna Draffin is the new Chair and Kirsty Rourke is the new Deputy Chair of both Boards.

Anna was a Director of YWCA Victoria Housing between 2016 and 2018, and joined the YWCA National Housing and YWCA Housing boards in 2018. Anna has experience in corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors and is currently the CEO of ShareGift Australia. Her skills in strategy, business development, communications and translation of innovative ideas into commercial reality will serve YWCA well as Chair of our housing boards.

Kirsty was a Director of both YWCA Queensland and YWCA Australia prior to joining the YWCA Housing Boards in 2018. Kirsty is a seasoned real estate professional and passionate about young women’s leadership and providing women and families with access to long-term, stable accommodation. Her skills in legal, strategic and risk management are critical in YWCA’s development and management of community housing properties.

We thank Melinda van der Westhuizen, who has recently made the decision to step back from the role of Chair of the YWCA Housing and YWCA National Housing Boards. We are fortunate that Melinda will continue on both housing boards as a director. Her knowledge and experience of the property and housing sector and strategic business planning are very much valued.

Thank you Caroline, former YWCA National Housing and YWCA Housing Board Director

We thank former director, Caroline Treacy, who has recently made the decision to step down from the YWCA Housing and YWCA National Housing Boards. Prior to her role on the YWCA Housing and YWCA National Housing boards, Caroline was a Director of YWCA Queensland for six years, and chaired the Property Assets Committee for eight years.

We recognise her significant contribution to YWCA Housing, and YWCA more broadly. Her skills in property development and adaptive use of buildings as the founder of Grey Space, an architecture firm focusing on aged care, retirement living, disability accommodation and community housing, uniquely qualified Caroline for her role on the YWCA housing boards. Because of Caroline’s contribution, YWCA is strongly positioned to continue innovating and diversifying our affordable housing property options.

Caroline remains a part of the Y family and we thank her for her leadership and contribution.

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