15 May 2020
With all the negative stories in our news and social media feeds, it can be hard to find positives in our current situation. But here at YWCA Canberra, changes to our work brought on by COVID-19 have helped us help even more local women.
Our Next Door program helps women age 50 and over to secure and maintain affordable, appropriate and safe homes. The type of support we provide is tailored to the woman’s individual situation: it could be finding them a home, helping them maintain their existing tenancies or providing them with support to access services and help they need to live the life they choose, in dignity.
Based on funding we received from the ACT Government, we had originally targeted to help between nine and 15 women a year; this was deliberately flexible because the amount of support varies depending on the complexity of the woman’s needs.
But since we started the program in July last year, we have been able to support 66 older women!
This includes 21 women we have been able to help secure housing through Housing ACT, our Rentwell charitable property management program or other affordable housing. We have supported another 17 to sustain their own tenancy or secure appropriate, affordable and safe private rental housing.
Our team is currently working with another 27 women, five of whom we have already been able to get into temporary housing while we continue to work towards long-term solutions.
Part of this increase in our ability to support local women has been because of changes to our business processes brought on by COVID-19. With reduced travel times now that we do consultations over video and phone calls, we have been able to accept roughly one additional new referral to our program each week.
Although times are tough, we think there are still opportunities to help and support others. And we will continue to work towards our goal to nurture and empower older women to overcome the challenges, trauma and inequality they have experienced in their lives and build their resilience, independence and wellbeing.
Do you know an older woman in need of support to secure and maintain an affordable, appropriate and safe home? Contact our team: