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YWCA Tackles Housing Crisis

Media Release

For Release 09:00 Wednesday 2 March 2016

YWCA Housing Underlines Severity of Women’s Housing Shortage with Relaunch and New Policy Paper; Urges Legislators to Act

Key Government figures, including Minister Martin Foley, developers and decision makers are expected to attend the release of YWCA Housing’s affordable housing policy paper at Melbourne Town Hall today.

YWCA Housing (formerly Social Housing Victoria) is a subsidiary of YWCA Victoria, an organisation that has been providing affordable accommodation for Victorian women for over 130 years. This wealth of experience has informed the development of a perceptive and comprehensive policy addressing the core of the housing affordability crisis and how it impacts the state’s women.

While unaffordable housing affects everyone, women are more at risk due to gender-based financial inequality, family violence, discrimination and disability. Of the 23,000 homeless Victorians, over 9,800 are women and rates for homeless women are growing at a faster rate to men. Family violence is a key issue with over 70% of women applying with YWCA Housing indicating they had experienced family violence.

YWCA Housing provides shelter to over 240 women each night across Victoria. YWCA Housing Chair, Cara Gleeson, knows this number is not even close to meeting the need.

“We currently cannot house over 87 percent of applications, this means referring over 750 women a year to other providers or waiting lists,” Ms Gleeson said. “If Victoria wants to be a place of equity, increasing the supply of affordable housing for women is critical, along with gender focused service provisions, as we know this improves outcomes for women. The immediate focus for YWCA Housing is the development and acquisition of affordable housing solutions for women across Victoria. We need the support from both state and federal government to assist our efforts.”

The policy paper urges the state government to develop a plan for increased community and social housing, and to establish a Victorian Social Housing Supply program with annual funding over 20 years to enable the increase. Also high on the priority list for YWCA Housing is the increase in supply of affordable housing for women and children escaping family violence, and establishing a rapid re-housing program to assist these families to be rehoused quickly and with appropriate supports in place.

For a copy of the policy paper or more information on working with YWCA Housing to improve housing outcomes for women in Victoria, please contact Jan Berriman, CEO, YWCA Housing and YWCA Victoria on 03 8341 8700.