More Housing for Women Facing Homelessness!
The acquisition of 29 properties, located in Geelong, Bendigo, Darebin and Port Phillip is the latest initiative by the YWCA, which addresses gender inequality through the provision of safe and affordable housing, mentoring, childcare, cultural programs and education.
The announcement comes as part of the Government’s $24 million Rapid Housing Assistance program, which targets people with housing instability. The new properties will be part of a $1m head leasing arrangement, which allows the YWCA to “top up” rental rates and provide bond for low-income residents, providing women with housing in the private rental market at an affordable rate. In addition, YWCA Housing will be working in tandem with Cohealth to provide residents with vital, quality health care and support services like counselling, drug and alcohol services, domestic violence support, nutrition and much more.
YWCA Housing Chief Executive Officer, Jan Berriman said that women, in particular older women are the emerging face of homelessness.
“Over the past twelve months, YWCA Housing has experienced unprecedented levels of demand and have been unable to assist eighty-two percent of those women in housing need,” Ms Berriman said. “Unfortunately, thirty percent of these women have worked all their life and for forty-seven percent, it is the first time that have been in housing stress.”
A contributing factor to this phenomenon is the ongoing issue of wage inequity.
The gender pay gap, which currently sits at 17.3% according to the Bureau of Statistics, continues to impact women’s economic security and their ability to accumulate wealth.
“Gender disparity is felt more acutely by women in retirement as a lifetime of interrupted or part-time work impacts on factors like the accrual of superannuation,” Ms Berriman said. “Without these financial safety nets, older women are finding that this translates into poorer health, inhibited access to services and housing instability.”
“However, with new housing projects and programs like this, we are in the best possible position to assist and empower this group of women.”