Women’s Housing Limited in Victoria is a not-for-profit organisation that provides low cost housing to women at risk of homelessness, including older women and women who are forced to leave their home because of family violence. NHFIC finalised its latest bond on 24 June 2020, with the funds supporting a $9 million loan to Women’s Housing Limited. We spoke with the organisation’s CEO, Judy Line, to learn more about the need for safe and affordable homes for women.
With our loan from NHFIC, we will be able to refinance $5.5 million of debt, and the additional $3.5 million we can contribute towards new properties. This will be directed towards building new, safe homes for women.
As an example of this benefit, we’ve been able to purchase seven one-bedroom units outright, at a significantly reduced cost, in a great location in the Melbourne suburbs – close to hospitals and major amenities. Women are able to live in these units, paying 75% of the market rent, and we can afford to do this because of the lower borrowing costs with NHFIC.
Three women are already living in the units, two of them essential workers employed at the nearby hospital, and another working in aged care – and they’re over the moon with their new homes. One of the new tenants moved from a shared house and is now on a six-month lease with us. This stability has given her an opportunity to study and upskill.
There can sometimes be a stigma attached to public housing, but the women in these properties, and our other properties, have often told us they don’t feel like they’re in affordable housing – the units are modern and spacious, with building facilities like gyms and rooftop garden areas available to them. And it’s made their lives so much easier.
Two of the affordable housing properties owned by Women’s Housing Limited. The property on the right won the Urban Development Industry Association – Victoria (UDIA) award for Excellence – Affordable Housing in 2012.
We also have a number of properties targeted at older women and women experiencing family violence, that have been funded from various sources. The debt from these properties has been refinanced with NHFIC, meaning we have more money to cross-subsidise and reallocate into affordable housing for women.
For the most part, women in these homes are coming from family violence situations straight into long term housing, without having to go through transition in refuge housing. They have somewhere to call home, they can get their children to school and then think about their futures – either with further education or employment.
Ultimately, they can get back on their feet and live great lives in a safe and affordable home.
The units are high quality, spacious and modern – providing women with a safe, affordable home where they can get back on their feet.