Funding to support city’s most vulnerable women and Indigenous people

City of Sydney

The City of Sydney has approved funding for services to help some of the state’s most at risk and vulnerable residents.

More than $310,000 will go towards improving housing options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Sydney and support for more than 400 women and children experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

St George Community Housing has been awarded $195,000 to work in partnership with Bridge Housing and City West Housing on affordable housing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Women’s Community Shelters will receive up to $118,000 to expand its Pathways Home program across the city to support women, including older women, who have been displaced from their homes and are in need of transitional housing.

“Everyone deserves a home. There is a pressing need in the City for affordable rental housing for lower income households, and this need has been intensified by the pandemic. Increasing the amount of affordable rental housing is an urgent priority,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“The delivery of affordable housing is more important than ever and given the projected health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic, demand is likely to increase.

“By 2036, our area will need around 2,000 additional social housing dwellings and more than 10,500 affordable homes, including more housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“There is no specific housing strategy for older women and there is a lack of integrated service provision – this means that homelessness, financial assistance, aged care and women’s support are all delivered separately, with little or no coordination between each service.

“Women experiencing homelessness need appropriate, long-term, affordable housing – stable housing is critical for good health and wellbeing.

“The City is proud to support these services, which will help house some of our most vulnerable citizens and provide homes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents to keep community together, in Redfern.”

In February 2020, the City of Sydney granted $150,000 to St George Community Housing for the engagement of an Aboriginal affordable housing manager as part of its Aboriginal Affordable Housing Engagement Coordinator (AAHEC) project. The candidate has been pivotal to the delivery of several key outcomes including:

  • targeted and culturally appropriate housing-related services in the local area
  • research to improve access to affordable housing opportunities and retention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • a register of interest of local First Nations people interested in accessing affordable housing to be shared with all participating community housing providers
  • driving increased awareness of affordable housing options for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Following the success of the project, the funding will enable St George Community Housing to extend the project for another two years.

Women’s Community Shelters is a specialist homelessness and domestic and family violence service. Throughout the pandemic, the service has experienced an increase in demand for accommodation and support from women who have been pushed to the brink of homelessness by financial insecurity, rising unemployment, family and domestic violence and a lack of affordable rental accommodation.

The service’s Pathways Home program seeks to increase available housing stock for women and children leaving the Women’s Community Shelters’ crisis accommodation. In partnership with City West Housing and Scape Australia, the program enables women at risk to sublet under-utilised or vacant property as transitional housing for up to a year.

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