Housing

We believe that safe, affordable and secure housing is a fundamental human right.

YWCA Canberra has provided housing support to women and the broader Canberra community for nearly 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. We are also an inclusive service and have experience supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and LGBTQIA* people.

Our housing services include:

  • Next Door: housing and support services for older women experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness
  • Rentwell: our charitable property management service
  • Affordable housing for people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness
  • Supported housing:
    • community housing: accommodation in properties owned by YWCA Canberra,
    • transitional housing: short to medium term accommodation for women and their families.
    • Supportive Tenancy Service: supporting people to overcome difficulties in maintaining their tenancy and improve their living situation
  • Outreach: preventing homelessness through outreach services.

If you are homeless or are at risk of homelessness, please contact One Link on 1800 176 468. One Link is the gateway giving access to over 40 individual homelessness services. A phone call to One Link matches you with the help you need.

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

Through Next Door we will provide a range of services and supports for older women age 50+ who are at risk of or who are experiencing homelessness.

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-centered approach with you, 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.

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.

Contact our team

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


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 low to middle incomes who are finding it difficult to enter the private rental market.

About Rentwell tenants

Having an affordable, appropriate and secure place to call home is a fundamental human right and we believe that all Canberrans should have quality, affordable and secure housing options.
For people on low to middle incomes, the ACT is an incredibly expensive place to rent. Increasingly, people are being locked out of the mainstream rental market, but yet they earn too much money to be eligible for other forms of housing support.

Our priority is to assist older women who are at risk of homelessness and women with children, but we will house men and families in need as well.

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

Contact our team

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

We provide affordable housing at three properties in Canberra.

Lady Heydon House

The development of Lady Heydon House was the initial phase of YWCA Canberra’s Affordable Housing Program. It provides safe, affordable housing for five single older women. Each woman has her own bedroom, sitting room, ensuite and kitchenette, 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 what was one of Canberra’s new suburbs at the time.

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

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 and provides safe, affordable housing for up to eight women aged over 55 years who have experienced family breakdown and who are unable to live independently.

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 which has been set up as a guest room with access to a bathroom and toilet. Tenants have access to lockable storage rooms and sheds on-site.

YWCA Canberra took over management over Betty Searle House on 1 July 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, information, advocacy and referrals to help families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to access, maintain or develop safe, secure, affordable, appropriate and independent housing. We have a specific focus on the needs of children.

We operate in accordance with our organisational values and strive to create a socially inclusive society where all people feel valued, their differences are respected, and their basic needs are met so they can live with dignity.

We work with families who want both accommodation and support with other issues, such as parenting, budgeting and finance, mental health, drug and alcohol dependence, domestic violence, and other concerns.

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

Transitional housing services

YWCA Canberra provides supported accommodation services on behalf of the ACT Government. We currently have 13 transitional housing properties, which provide short to medium term accommodation for women and their families.

Our houses are rented at approximately 25 per cent of a family’s combined income; however, capacity to pay is not a criterion of eligibility.

All families are allocated a Family Case Manager who will ensure their needs are addressed through the development of a case plan, advocacy support, and referrals to other specialist services.

Supportive Tenancy Service

The Supportive Tenancy Service (STS) supports people living in public housing, private rentals and those who have a mortgage in the ACT to overcome their difficulties in maintaining their tenancy and improve their living situation.

STS operates as a partnership between Woden Community Service, YWCA Canberra and Belconnen Community Service. Funding is provided under the National Affordable Housing Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, which are jointly funded by the ACT and Australian Governments.

For more information about STS, including useful links and contact information, visit the Woden Community Service website.

Our team is available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you are homeless, or are at risk of homelessness, please contact One Link on 1800 176 468.

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