Our History

YWCA Victoria has been in existence for 135 years and works to deliver services focused on creating opportunities for women facing disadvantage and to be a powerful voice for women’s equality.

YWCA Victoria is a secular organisation that provides services and works through a gender lens to ensure that programs are delivered to advance equity, opportunity, choice, active participation and empowerment for Victorian women.

Our services are delivered through three program areas – housing, mentoring and community strengthening, with a commitment to addressing shelter, safety, security and empowerment.

The YWCA has a long and proud history of providing housing and accommodation for women and their families since 1882 when the first hostel for women opened in Melbourne.

  • 1887 opened our first hostel for women.
  • 1900 emergency accommodation provided to women from the opium dens
  • 1942-1945 housed 6.700 service women in hostels made in converted Melbourne mansions
  • 1945 housed over 1000 young women in 11 residential clubs and hostels and thousands more in temporary accommodation
  • Post war accommodation and work for new arrivals was provided
  • Grenfell House was leased as a residential club for students and business women
  • Richmond House, Doery House and hotel accommodation is acquired
  • 2009 registered entity, regulated housing provider
  • 2012 upgraded Richmond House, built 6 units in Geelong
  • 2015 Change of name and logo from Social Housing Victoria to YWCA Housing Victoria
  • Development of commercial and for profit housing
  • 2017 head leasing program begins, leasing private rentals for women and subsidising their rent.