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Our Year at the Y

We’ve come to the end of another year, and hasn’t 2022 been a whirlwind! This year we began to implement our new 5-year strategy, what we call YeS 2026, and make progress towards our two long term outcomes – young women and women experience increased wellbeing, safety, and security in their homes and young women lead policy and systems change for effective housing pathways and social support. We’re taking a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of our team members and reflect on the year that was.  

Community Programs in 2022   

Our community programs in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia supported close to 6,000 people, and provided over 64,000 hours of case management support.  

Our 28 programs provided vital support in different communities. This includes (but is not limited to): 

  • Providing support and case management to women and their families experiencing domestic and family violence, including support to find housing or remain safe in a home of their choice 
  • Enabling young women with lived experience of housing risk or homelessness to grow their capability and skills to advocate on key issues 
  • Helping people facing or at risk of homelessness into short, medium and long-term accommodation and providing support to address other needs 
  • Supporting young parents and families to provide happier, more stable homes for their children and get them ready for school 
  • Connecting young women and gender diverse people who’ve had contact with youth justice and child protection systems with supportive adult mentors to help them achieve their goals 

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Growing Horizons and Encore’s National Program due to funding contracts ending and not being renewed. We are proud to be transitioning Ngulliboo Muggi – All Of Us Strong (Goonellabah Transition Program) to Jarjum Centre, current partner of the program and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, at the start of 2023. 

Community Housing in 2022  

We’re proud that our Community Housing footprint continues to grow. We currently own and manage 418 tenancies across Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory, which are made up of transitional, social, and affordable housing. Through these tenancies, we provide safe, affordable accommodation to over 800 people and their families – which equals about 120,000 nights of safe and affordable accommodation this year alone. 

Most of our residents are older women and women-led families, who we know are more likely to experience homelessness than the general population.  

“Living in a property with the support of YWCA has created so many positive changes for myself and son, as our lives were in danger. I came out of horrible divorce and a toxic environment. Since being housed with YWCA I now feel safe and secure. Our lives are happier and settled again, and we can now make plans for our future.” 

YWCA Resident, Victoria

Advocacy in 2022 

While it’s important to address the immediate needs of the communities we operate in, the best change we’ll see is when we address the systemic issues around young women’s leadership, housing insecurity and homelessness for women and their families, and domestic and family violence.  

We advocated for stronger action to address the drivers of women’s homelessness and ensure those experiencing housing risk or family and domestic violence can access the right supports, including safe and secure housing. Our advocacy work focused on the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children, campaigning for a National Housing and Homelessness Plan and ensuring women were front and centre at Federal and State Elections and in the Federal Budgets. 

We continued to stand with our sector partners signing joint letters put forward by PowerHousing, ACOSS and more. We are also currently participating in round table discussions for the Federal Gender Equality Strategy.  

Exciting Developments – Young Women’s Leadership 

While it’s great to reflect on our successes, it’s also exciting to look forward too. One of our long-term outcomes is young women to lead policy and systems change for effective housing pathways and social support, and we’re excited to be expanding our work in this area.  

We secured a three-year contract to deliver a new program, Amplifying Voices, in the Northern Territory. This program will engage young women and gender diverse people to exercise their lived expertise of domestic, family and sexual violence, including homelessness and housing risk, in leading advocacy and influencing systems reforms through primary prevention activities. It’s an important step towards our long-term outcomes. 

We also bought on the role of Lived Experience Manager to help us grow our lived experience expertise programs and ensure we do so in a safe, trauma-informed and mutually-beneficial way.  

Exciting Developments – Community Housing  

We look forward to growing our housing footprint across Australia, and supporting more women through the current housing affordability crisis.  

This year, we increased our tenancies across Victoria and Queensland. In Victoria, we secured a general lease for 14 new affordable housing units for women and women-led families in Maribyrnong and increased the capacity of the Lakehouse to provide short-term accommodation to an additional 19 older women experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Melbourne.   

In Queensland, we brought online 5 more rooms for women experiencing domestic and family violence at our Mary Street property in Toowoomba. We also secured a tenancy management agreement with the Queensland Government, which will enable us to help more women and women-led families in the state. We were also successful in securing funding under the Queensland Housing Growth Initiative for spot purchase projects in the Darling Downs and Townsville, which will enable us to provide 40 safe, affordable homes to women and their families in tight rental markets.  

We currently have secured funding for 7 housing development projects that will deliver 123 homes for women and their families by 2026. This includes our Hutt Street Adelaide development project, spot purchase projects and future builds in Queensland and Victoria. This is a significant step in building the long-term sustainability of the Y and most importantly, supporting women and their families to break the cycle of homelessness and housing insecurity.  

We also recently received a donation from Homes for Homes to the Joondanna Project, which will transform a dormant aged care facility into a liveable, inclusive and connected community of older women, family violence survivors and women at risk of homelessness, in a well-located suburb of Perth. 

Exciting Developments – Advocacy 

2023 looks to be a big year for our priority areas of young women’s leadership, housing insecurity and homelessness for women and their families, and domestic and family violence. 

The first Action Plan as part of the New National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 22-32 is due to be released early in the year, along with the National Plan to End Homelessness.  

We are also attending the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women from 6 to 17 March 2023 in New York City – the first in-person session we are attending since 2019 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. We look forward to assisting the Australian Government with language negotiations, attending side and parallel events and feeding back news of CSW67 to our members and supporters in Australia.  

If you want to take the charge of advocacy at YWCA Australia, we are currently recruiting for a General Manager, Advocacy & External Affairs.  

We’re really proud of the accomplishments we’ve made throughout the year and look forward to helping more women and their families in 2023, as we work towards our vision of making gender equality a reality.  

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