YHomes is a planned supported housing development on Block 1, Section 87 Ainslie, on Rutherford Crescent. This supported housing development is a continuation of our mission to ‘strengthen communities by supporting women and girls through our service and our advocacy.’
Having identified the shortage of affordable rentals for older women and women escaping domestic violence, YWCA Canberra felt we could play a positive role in providing affordable, safe and fit-for-purpose housing solutions for women in the ACT by utilising this land, which we have owned for decades. Our development application permits us to build ten units for older women and women and families who have experienced domestic violence.
YWCA Canberra’s Development Application was approved by the ACT planning authority (EPSDD) on 15 April 2021.
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YHomes will provide affordable, appropriate, and stable homes for women on modest incomes to live independently.
Our latest project will create a supported housing dwelling at Rutherford Crescent, Ainslie (Block 1, Section 87).
Older women are the fastest-growing group in the ACT experiencing homelessness (see Hidden Women documentary). YWCA Canberra wants to help them by addressing the chronic shortage of affordable rentals in Canberra.
YWCA Canberra purchased this site in 1992 to benefit and support our work in the community. We currently hold a 99-year lease on the land to deliver community activities. In the past, the site has been used for early childhood services, youth services and community activities.
The zoning of the land permits us to develop it for supported housing to benefit the community. To ensure the site continues to respond to community needs, we are creating affordable accommodation on the block for local women on modest incomes.
As a specialist women’s service, we are well placed to provide supported accommodation for older women, as well as younger women with children.
YWCA Canberra will finance the build through a combination of our own funds and philanthropic donations. We also received an ACT Government grant of $125,000 last year to assist with the initial planning process.
YWCA Canberra has approval to build ten supported housing units. These units (a mix of studio and two bedrooms) will be housed within two single-storey buildings. Residents will have on-site parking and a common green.
YWCA Canberra is currently working with local architecture firm AMC to create a sensitive and fit-for-purpose design for our clients, neighbouring residents, the natural environment, and the broader suburb. If approved, construction will commence during 2021, with expected completion by 2022.
YHomes will cater to women aged 55+ and women with children who may have experienced domestic and family violence and are on modest incomes.
Our Rentwell and Next Door housing programs have demonstrated that most of our tenants are tertiary qualified, retired public servants who cannot access the mainstream rental market. A YHomes tenant could be your sister, mother or grandmother. These women make excellent tenants and neighbours – they just require affordable housing.
This project fills a gap in the ACT housing market as there are no other purpose-built, independent, affordable rental properties in the ACT specifically designed for women.
We have sought and incorporated the views of neighbours and nearby residents in our housing programs during the master planning process. We have also consulted with older women who are clients of our existing housing services to determine their preferences in housing design.
We invited neighbours and nearby residents to two on-site consultation sessions in February 2020 hosted by the CEO of YWCA Canberra and representatives of the architectural firm AMC. A further online session was held when COVID-19 restrictions were introduced. During these sessions, neighbours and nearby residents were able to view the proposed development and provide feedback. We also received feedback via email.
These consultation sessions elicited feedback that saw YWCA Canberra vary the plans to reduce the height of the building from two stories to one, and the number of dwellings from 16 to ten. Our plan preserves the eucalyptus trees and one of the original preschool buildings, and includes on-site parking, leaving street parking unaffected.
YWCA Canberra also conducted letterbox drops of Rutherford Crescent and the surrounding streets outlining the proposal and providing contact details for further information.
We will continue to consult with local residents throughout the project to ensure the best possible outcome for the community and future tenants.
We have consulted closely with neighbours, the Inner North Community Council and women in our housing programs during the master planning process, including information flyers, drop-in visits on-site, and online community meetings.
We understand residents’ connection to the adjacent Bill Pye Park. Our block does not include the park, so the development will not impact community use of the park.
As a local charity and community organisation, it is important to us that we consult and maintain positive relations with neighbours throughout the development process, particularly to ensure that our future tenants are welcomed by their neighbours.
Yes, our Development Application was approved by the ACT planning authority on 15 April 2021.
YWCA Canberra’s proposal is for ten supported housing units. The mix of units will allow for studio (single occupancy) and two-bedroom (one adult, two children) dwellings. All units will have a private courtyard
In response to feedback, we have reduced the height of the building from two storeys to one. The units will be housed within two single-storey buildings.
Bill Pye Park is located at Block 2, Section 87. The block owned by YWCA Canberra (Block 1, Section 87) does not include the park. No part of the development will impact the park.
No. Our plan preserves the eucalyptus trees on the site including the deceased eucalyptus tree.
Our proposal is to create ten quality homes for older women and women with children who have experienced family violence. There is a discernible shortage of affordable housing in Canberra. Older women are the fastest-growing cohort of those experiencing homelessness. Further, domestic and family violence remains a persistent factor in presentations to specialist homelessness services. This homelessness sometimes goes unnoticed by the community as it is hidden, with women often sleeping in their cars or getting by in insecure tenure.
YWCA Canberra has a proud 90-year history of providing essential services to the community. We felt we could play a positive role in providing affordable, safe and fit-for-purpose housing solutions for women in the ACT by utilising this land.