Connecting women with housing and community

7 March 2022

At YWCA Canberra, we believe that safe, affordable and secure housing is a fundamental human right. That’s why we have been providing housing services to women and families in need in the ACT for 80 years.  

We know our services have improved many lives, but rather than us talking about them, we want our client’s voices to be heard. Cate* is one of the thousands of women we have empowered and supported to feel safe and secure in their homes. 

Cate’s story 

My housing situation was insecure. An unscrupulous landlord would not provide a lease. I had no rights, no privacy and was paying over half my income in rent, all of which impacted my already fragile health issues and my isolation. I was on the brink of becoming a homeless 58-year-old woman. I was scared and very depressed. 

Desperate to find housing security and stability, I searched for a new rental in a competitive and impossible market for a low-income earner. 

I then stumbled across the YWCA Canberra Next Door program as I searched to get myself out of the untenable living situation I was in. 

I met Dianna and Jasmina from the Next Door program and, after the first meeting, I walked away feeling I was no longer on my own with the issues I was facing. There was continued support and follow-up by the Next Door program: a phone call, a meet for coffee and a chat. These interactions kept my head above water and a sense of not being on my own, a feeling that someone cared, a knowing that my case manager was working to help me find a way out of the precarious living situation I was in.  

Next Door connected me with YWCA Canberra’s Rentwell program to view a rental property. I am now in secure housing with a signed lease, a rent amount I can afford, privacy and a great sense of safety. 

During lockdown, Next Door kept in contact, called to see how I was doing, provided information on virtual events to keep me connected. They also provided me with a tablet and portable Wi-Fi, which has helped me stay connected and lessened the feeling of complete isolation.  

The Next Door and Rentwell programs have helped me from becoming another homeless mature aged woman statistic. The help provided has been without judgement, delivered with a sense of care and dignity of which I am truly grateful for. 

Can you help us help more women like Cate? 

From now until 11 March 2022, you can donate to YWCA Canberra’s housing programs through the Hands Up for Canberra appeal, and your donation will be matched by Hands Across Canberra! 

This means you could turn $25 into $50 and support older women in Canberra to have safe, affordable housing.  

Donate today! 

*Not the client’s real name 

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