If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the ACT, please call One Link on 1800 176 468. One Link can give you information and connect you to the best service to suit you.

Safe, affordable and secure housing is a fundamental human right.

Our team has the skill, experience and networks to work with women from all walks of life, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disability, gender and sexuality diverse women and culturally and linguistically diverse women.

We also have strong links to other services within the ACT, including medical, social service, legal, domestic violence and emergency accommodation service providers. This allows us to take a holistic approach to help our clients achieve positive outcomes.

Our housing programs

  • If you currently have housing (whether a mortgage or renting) and you are in housing stress*, you can access our Supportive Tenancy Service.
  • If you are a single older woman age 50+ (or 45+ for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women) and are homeless or in housing stress*, you can access our Next Door program.
  • If you are a single woman in unstable housing or homeless, you can access our Affordable housing program.
  • If you are a woman with dependent children (with or without a partner) and are in unstable housing or homeless, you can access our Transitional housing program.

* Housing stress is defined as paying over 30 per cent of your income on housing, whether through a mortgage or rent, and being unable to financially support this situation.

Rentwell, our charitable property management service, enables private property owners to rent their properties at affordable rates for people on moderate incomes.

We also provide an outreach service for homeless people. Our workers can meet with service users at a convenient place for them. Where our service cannot provide direct support, we can refer service users to an appropriate, alternative service.

The Supportive Tenancy Service (STS) helps people living in the ACT to overcome difficulties in maintaining their tenancy and improve their living situation.

Accessing STS requires a referral, either from OneLink or through another YWCA Canberra program you are engaged with.

STS is a partnership between Woden Community Service, YWCA Canberra and Canberra Region Community Service. The ACT and Australian Governments jointly fund the program under the National Affordable Housing Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.

Next Door is a specialist service that empowers older women to access and maintain affordable, appropriate and safe homes in the ACT.

Through Next Door, we provide a range of services and supports for older women who are at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. This support is tailored to each woman’s individual needs.

You can contact us directly to become part of our Next Door program, or other community organisations might refer you to us.

How can Next Door help you?

Through Next Door, we can help you find a home, maintain your existing tenancy or support you to access the services and help you need to live the life you choose, in dignity.

Our team takes a person-centred approach, which means you are in control of decision making. We listen to you, we think together, we coach rather than direct, we share ideas, and we seek feedback.

You can read how we have helped some of our clients: Cate, Lynette, Wendy, Helen, Mary and Cheryl (not their real names).

Contact our team

To find out more about Next Door or to speak to a friendly team member:

We provide affordable housing at three properties in Canberra for single women who are in unstable housing or homeless.

When rooms become available in these homes, we advertise them on Allhomes.

Lady Heydon House

This home provides affordable housing for five single women. Each woman has her own bedroom, sitting room and ensuite, and shares a larger kitchen, dining room and two living spaces.

Lady Heydon House is named after Naomi Heydon, past President and significant contributor to YWCA Canberra in the 1960s and 70s. Originally named Heydon Cottage, this site was set up to develop a sense of community in the Belconnen region.

Lady Heydon House signifies your response to the plight of women who are at serious risk due to intermittent work patterns, low levels of superannuation and lower incomes, fragile, or ono-existent financial stability… Lady Heydon House will mean a haven, a roof, dignity, security, privacy, a space, time to reflect, to gain strength and purpose, to plan a future. Most of us couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be without those things… What they need is this – what we see here.”

Dame Quentin Bryce AC CVO, former Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia

Eclipse Apartments

We provide two tenancies to women within the Eclipse Apartments. Each tenancy is a one-bedroom self-contained apartment within a larger apartment complex. The complex offers shared facilities, including a BBQ area and guest parking.

These apartments were purchased in 2013 through the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

Betty Searle House

This home provides safe, affordable housing for up to eight women age 55+ who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Betty Searle is an eight-bedroom property with three separate, spacious living areas and a bedroom and ensuite for each tenant. Women share the two adjoining kitchen areas, laundry, living areas and a sunroom leading out to the gardens and they able to have their own vegetable garden plot if they wish.

There is a private courtyard and back deck area where women can also enjoy the outdoors.

Women are welcome to invite guests to stay overnight in the ninth bedroom, a guest room with access to a bathroom and toilet. Tenants have access to lockable storage rooms and sheds on-site.

Named after an avid campaigner for women’s rights and social justice in the ACT, Betty Searle House was officially opened on 30 March 2004. YWCA Canberra took over the management of the property in 2014.

Contact our team

If you would like to find out more about our affordable housing services, please contact our team:

We provide supported accommodation services on behalf of the ACT Government for families including women and children, who are in unstable housing or homeless.

You can only be referred to our Transitional housing services through OneLink. We cannot take direct referrals.

We currently have 14 transitional housing properties, which provide short to medium term accommodation. Rent in our homes is approximately 25 per cent of a family’s combined income; however, capacity to pay is not a criterion of eligibility.

All families in our Transitional housing services have a dedicated Family Case Manager who ensures their needs are addressed through a tailored case plan, advocacy support, and referrals to other specialist services.

Rentwell is YWCA Canberra’s affordable property management service. Through Rentwell, we manage and lease privately-owned investment properties in the ACT at below 75 per cent market rate, providing affordable housing to people on moderate incomes who are finding it difficult to enter the private rental market.

About Rentwell tenants

For people on moderate incomes, the ACT is an incredibly expensive place to rent. Increasingly, people are being locked out of the mainstream rental market, but they earn too much money to be eligible for other forms of housing support.

About Rentwell property owners

If you own an investment property in the ACT and want to make a lasting difference in the life of a local older woman, single mum or dad, or a family, Rentwell is your opportunity.

In return, you will be exempt from land tax and will receive a tax deduction for the difference between the market rent and the affordable rent.

Through Rentwell, we are contributing to the pool of affordable housing options in the ACT, building stronger communities and making Canberra a more inclusive and liveable city for everyone.

To find out more, visit www.rentwell.com.au

Our partners

Contact our team

To find out more about Rentwell or to speak to our property manager:

YWCA Canberra plans to build a block of nine units on a property we own in Ainslie. These will provide affordable, safe and fit-for-purpose rentals for older women and women escaping domestic violence.

Find out more about the YHomes project in Ainslie.

The importance of housing

There is no other indicator more inextricably linked to improved societal outcomes than housing.

Access to affordable and secure housing is the foundation from which people can connect to the community, economy and essential services, and where they can set themselves up for their own future. The current crisis in housing affordability and supply is, therefore, a crisis in community wellbeing.

Around Australia and right here in the ACT, older women are the fastest-growing group of people experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness. Between 2019 and 2021, YWCA Canberra found a four-fold increase in older women using homelessness support services, while usage from the general population barely increased.

Sadly, domestic and family violence remains a leading cause of homelessness among women. With the rates of domestic and family violence spiking during the pandemic crisis, we expect many Canberra women and their children will have to choose between becoming homeless or staying in a violent household.

YWCA Canberra’s history in housing

YWCA Canberra has provided housing support to women and the broader Canberra community for over 80 years, starting with the opening of Leave House in Mort St by Lady Gowrie in 1942.

We are innovative in our housing approach, using gender- and trauma-informed, strengths-based practice and working within our community and with strategic partnerships to deliver on individual and community needs.


To provide feedback on our services, please fill out our feedback form.