The ACT government has awarded two contracts worth $3.7 million to two organisations to provide specialised homelessness services for older women, and asylum seeker and migrant women and families.
YWCA Canberra and the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services Australia (MARSS) were granted $1.9 million and $1.8 million, respectively, by the ACT Minister for Housing Yvette Berry who announced the contracts on Monday.
The awards of the contracts come from discussions on the ACT Housing Strategy which identified the two cohorts as in needs of more tailored support and form part of the ACT Budget’s 2018-19 $6.5 million for homelessness support.
Both organisations will develop new services with their awarded grants.
It comes after YWCA launched a not-for-profit real affordable real estate service last month. The service, called Rentwell coincided with the beginning of the ACT government’s pilot program offering land tax exemptions for landlords using community housing providers.
“We’re excited that this new service will complement Rentwell, our new charitable property management service as well as our transitional housing, supportive tenancy service and outreach work in the community,” YWCA Canberra executive officer Frances Crimmins.
“This new initiative will provide housing support to the fastest growing cohort of Canberrans facing homelessness.”
In the 2016 census, the number of homeless women aged 55 and over in Australia grew by 31 per cent.
- Related: Eight property related measures in the ACT budget 2019-20
- Related: Six projects chosen for ACT Demonstration Housing Project
- Related: Rents continue to rise in Canberra’s inner suburbs
MARSS will develop a new service that will feature an “assessment system to identify, prioritise and meet housing needs and will provide medium-term accommodation and case management to support vulnerable migrants into sustainable housing”.
In some cases, where families are not able to contribute to costs such as rent and utility expenses, MARRS will offer financial assistance.
“MARSS has been granted the tender for Homelessness Service Asylum Seekers and Families with Uncertain Immigration Status by the ACT government and we are looking forward to building on our previous experience in providing successful accommodation services to cater for the women and families seeking asylum in the ACT,” MARRS executive officer Dewani Bakkum said.
“Within this program, MARSS will provide housing maintenance and tenancy support as well as wrap-around services to assist asylum seeker women and families in finding homes and settling into Australia.”
Low-income households in Canberra face the second-least affordable rents in the nation, according to several consecutive SGS Economics and Planning’s Rental Affordability Index reports.