How Rentwell is helping to home members of our community

15 August 2019

As was noted with the release of the ACT 2019-2020 Budget, people living in Canberra today generally have more wealth and opportunities than ever before, and our economy remains the fastest growing in Australia. We’re regarded as a capital of prosperity and equality.

Why then, do we have a growing number of people experiencing homelessness and even more people in housing stress? What we’ve learned at YWCA Canberra, over 90 years of providing housing support to Canberra families and women, is the majority of people in housing stress do not need ongoing support or case management. Instead, they need a home with affordable rent, and allows them to reconnect to communities and neighbourhoods that many have silently passed through as they moved between couches and carparks.

Rentwell, our charitable property management service, continues to go from strength to strength since its launch on 6 June. What we’ve seen at Rentwell is a continuous flow of altruistic property owners who fundamentally want to support others in their city. From one-bedroom units to granny flats and large family homes, Rentwell provides investors with the opportunity to give back and help others in the community.

We have also been inundated with enquiries from potential tenants and are busy matching single mums, older women, young families and mature age students to our homes. These are everyday Canberrans who are on modest incomes and struggling to afford the private rental market. Many have faced personal heartache and loss only to find themselves in housing crisis. Others have unsuccessfully inspected hundreds of private rental properties only to be outbid in rental auctions or simply left disheartened and no closer to finding a place to live.

At 80 years of age, Mable* found herself without a home when the elderly friend she had spent decades caring for, passed away and the home was sold. Mable needed support from the community and with the right assistance, YWCA Canberra placed her into one of our group homes for older women.

We’ve also housed single parents, who with the stability of a home, have been able to return to work and participate in their children’s education and school life without the stress of crisis and homelessness.

Christine is another of our tenants, who after becoming widowed and suffering an illness, was unable to afford rent on a small unit. Her family assisted her to find accommodate through our group homes and Christine, like Mable, now enjoys the company of older women as well as her own private space.

Christine has a convincing message to potential investors, “Women and others in need of affordable housing are so grateful for the opportunity and would care for your property as if it was their own home. So please give us the chance to prove that we will make good tenants with a reliable and long-term commitment to caring for and maintaining your property.”

This article forms part of YWCA Canberra’s advocacy publication, YAction.

You can read the next article in this series here or the previous one here.

YAction shines a light on the advocacy of YWCA Canberra, like-minded organisations and the issues that are important to our community.  

This publication is about bringing the voices, initiatives and efforts of activists and organisations to the fore – we hope that by doing this we will increase awareness of critical issues and present opportunities for collaboration that our members, friends and supporters can get involved in. Ultimately, we hope to strengthen a movement that works together to achieve gender equality in the ACT, as we believe that this will take a society-wide effort.

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