More gender-responsive measures needed to complement housing boost

While YWCA Australia welcomes measures in the 2024-25 Federal Budget to deliver more housing, we urge the government to do more to achieve gender equality across the entire housing spectrum.

Michelle Phillips, CEO YWCA Australia said while the budget delivers important measures in areas like women’s safety and economic security outlined in the Women’s Budget Statement, more funding for gender-responsive housing and homelessness services is crucial.

“In our pre-budget submission, we called for a gender-responsive approach to tackle the housing and cost-of-living crisis. The gendered nature of the housing crisis is undeniable, and it is necessary to take a wholistic view to address this,” said Ms Phillips.

“Women and gender diverse people face distinct barriers throughout their lives, with domestic and family violence being the leading cause of homelessness for women.”

“This budget missed an opportunity to fund policy design and frontline service delivery that directly addresses the unique challenges faced by women and gender diverse people in securing safe and affordable housing and accessing supports.”

As a Tier 2 Community Housing Provider specialising in women’s housing who also provides family and domestic violence supports and homelessness services, YWCA welcomes:

  • $1 billion to the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to better support housing for women and children experiencing domestic violence and housing for youth.
  • $1.9 billion in concessional financing for community housing providers to deliver under the Housing Australia Future Fund and National Accord.
  • The doubling of federal homelessness funding at $400 million to be matched by states in the new National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness.
  • The spending measures to address gendered violence, particularly the $925.2 million over five years to make the Leaving Violence Program permanent.

“Investing in capacity-building initiatives and expanding financing options for providers like YWCA echoes our pre-budget call and enables us to deliver on social and affordable housing targets, particularly for priority cohorts.”, said Ms Phillips.

YWCA stressed any investment in housing must sit alongside investment in frontline services that form part of a healthier housing system, and that the ongoing impacts of the rental affordability crisis be considered.

“While the 10 per cent increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance is welcome, we are concerned that without an increase in Youth Allowance and JobSeeker payments, more women and their families may be pushed towards homelessness.”

While the doubling of the Housing Australia Future Fund wasn’t in this budget, YWCA acknowledges the important building blocks in the government’s overall housing package.

YWCA remains committed to working with the government to ensure these measures deliver long-term affordable housing solutions and ensure a more gender-equal housing future for all Australians.

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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