Page 1667 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 May 2013

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DR BOURKE: (Ginninderra) (4.46): Mr Assistant Speaker, the YWCA of Canberra is a not-for-profit organisation that has been providing its services across the Canberra community since 1929. The YWCA believes that it is strengthened by the diverse range of individual members who are committed to achieve the same goals and who share common interests. The organisation encourages the participation of both men and women from any background. The YWCA of Canberra is part of the national and international YWCA network. Nationally there are 30 YWCA associations. The Australian YWCA network provides community services and programs to more than a quarter of a million Australians.

The YWCA of Canberra is a feminist organisation that creates a positive change throughout Canberra by delivering programs, advocacy and services for women, children and families. Here in the ACT the YWCA is making a difference by providing a range of programs and services to help the less fortunate individuals and families in the community.

Two years ago the YWCA of Canberra began pursuing the aspiration of becoming an affordable housing provider. Their strategic goal is for women and their families to have access to conditions and resources to lead healthy lives. This strategy responds to forecasts that a growing number of single women face housing insecurity, if not homelessness, in their later years. The women and housing affordability survey commissioned by the Salvation Army in 2011 found that a third of single women over 40 are currently at risk of homelessness and most will be at risk later in their lives.

In February this year I attended the official launch of Lady Heydon House, located in Spence. Lady Heydon House is the initial phase of the YWCA of Canberra’s affordable housing program. The Spence property was redeveloped into a shared house to provide secure and affordable housing for five single women. It was officially opened as Lady Heydon House by the patron of the YWCA of Canberra, Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce. Ms Bryce has a long history of contributing to the women’s movement, including a strong involvement with the YWCA. The opening of Lady Heydon House was a memorable and remarkable occasion for the YWCA of Canberra and it also raised awareness about the issue of secure and affordable housing for single women in the ACT.

Elsewhere in my electorate of Ginninderra the YWCA operates Hawker school-age and preschool-age care, Macquarie before and after-school care and Kingsford Smith school-age care, as well as school holiday programs at Kingsford Smith School. The YWCA of Canberra manages family day care in the suburbs of Kaleen, Giralang, McKellar, Spence, Evatt, Nicholls and Palmerston. This family day care is a community-based quality childcare service with qualified and experienced carers providing professional and supervised care for children from birth to 12 years of age in the private home.

The YWCA also runs the supportive tenancy service as a partnership with the Belconnen Community Service, working with Canberrans experiencing housing stress

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