YHomes- Ainslie Development

YHomes provides affordable, appropriate, and stable homes for women on modest incomes to live independently.

Our latest project is planning for the creation of a supported housing dwelling at Rutherford Crescent, Ainslie (Block 1, Section 87).

Project background

Older women are the fastest-growing group in the ACT experiencing homelessness (see Hidden Women documentary), and 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 supportive 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.

About the project

YWCA Canberra’s proposal is for 10 supportive housing units. These units (a mix of studio and 2 bedrooms) will be housed within two single-storey buildings. Residents will be provided with on-site parking and a common green.

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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.

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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.

Consultation

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.

In response to feedback from earlier consultations with Ainslie residents, we have varied the plans to reduce the height of the building from two storeys to one, and the number of units from 16 to 10.  Our plan also incorporates the preservation of trees on the site. On-street parking will not be affected, as resident parking will be provided on-site.

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.

Next steps and more information

YWCA Canberra will lodge the Development Application later this year and will continue to seek residents’ feedback as part of our community consultation process.

If you have any questions or would like to subscribe to our mailing list for project updates, please contact our project team via Ainslie@ywca-canberra.org.au

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