Australia’s leading national women’s housing provider has announced the construction of nine new homes to address Mooroopna’s lack of affordable accommodation.
The Mooroopna Women’s Housing Project will provide social housing for local women and their families. Women experiencing family violence will be prioritised as tenants, including Aboriginal women or Aboriginal women-led families. Housing will be allocated to approved applicants on the Victorian Housing Register.
The Mooroopna Women’s Housing Project was funded by Homes Victoria as part of the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build and delivered in partnership with YWCA Australia, the largest national provider of long-term affordable housing for women. The development will be constructed by Cavalier Homes Goulburn Valley and is expected to be completed by January 2024.
YWCA Australia CEO Michelle Phillips said the additional housing was a much-needed boost for women living in regional areas, who often faced barriers when seeking safe, low-cost accommodation.
“There is a significant shortage of secure and affordable accommodation in regional Australia that meets the needs of women. In a country like Australia, women shouldn’t be forced to remain in unstable or unsafe environments because they can’t afford to live somewhere else.
“That’s why the stable, low-cost social housing YWCA Australia is providing via the Mooroopna Women’s Housing Project is vital, particularly in regional areas that typically have limited housing and low vacancy rates. It’s satisfying to know that next year another nine families will be living safely in their own homes again,” Phillips said.
SQM Research shows Mooroopna has a rental vacancy rate of just 0.1 per cent, with rents for houses and flats jumping 8.4 per cent in the last 12 months, while the 2021 Census found more than one third of its residents were experiencing rental stress. These factors put women on low incomes at greater risk of homelessness and housing insecurity.
Local resident Shara Scott experienced homelessness in 2018 after a difficult relationship breakdown. She welcomed the announcement of additional housing for the region as a lifeline for local women.
“I had a job and thought this could never happen to me. My marriage ended suddenly, and it changed everything; within a very brief period of time, I was no longer able to afford my rental and my children and I experienced homelessness.
“Thankfully, I was able to access support, which allowed my kids and I to get back on our feet and secure a house of our own.
“Five years later, I now work full time advocating for social issues and have just graduated from the Fairley Leadership Program with a passion for empowering the community. Things would look very different if I hadn’t had that lifeline.
“Our community needs more safe and affordable shelter for women and their families. Without more housing, there will be women like me who won’t get that help,” Scott said.
Michelle Phillips said secure housing is fundamental to enabling women to access the support services that can help them rebuild their lives.
“The Mooroopna Women’s Housing Project will provide a stable foundation for women and their families to rebuild their lives along with access to services which can assist with counselling, help them re-enter the workforce, and plan for their future. We look forward to continuing to partner with the Victorian Government to deliver more of these life-changing women’s housing projects,” Phillips said.
YWCA Australia has also received funding by Homes Victoria to construct social housing for women in Baranduda, near Wodonga, West Wodonga and in East Bendigo, where YWCA also built and operates the Bendigo Affordable Housing Development for women on low incomes.