New partners provide big boost for secure housing sector

Left to right: Sallianne McClelland, WCS Director of Development; Simone Parsons, WCS COO; Councillor Emma Heyde, Annabelle Daniel, WCS CEO.

A new housing model which involves the collaboration of property owners, domestic violence services and community housing providers is delighted to welcome two new partners to their unique housing collaboration.

Twilight Aged Care and Link Housing will join founding partners, Women’s Community Shelters, PAYCE Foundation and Bridge Housing as part of their newly created Pathways Home model.

Pathways Home is an innovative ‘meanwhile use’ venture that provides transitional housing to women and their children and older single women escaping domestic and family violence. It does this by identifying underutilised properties and repurposing them for transitional housing.

The goal is to provide stable, supported housing for women, their children and older single women as they rebuild their lives after experiences of homelessness and domestic and family violence.

The term ‘meanwhile use’ originates from the UK where it was used to describe vacant land and buildings that could be repurposed for cultural or community development purposes until they could be brought back into commercial use.

Beecroft House in Beecroft is a ‘meanwhile’ property that has been temporarily gifted by Twilight Aged Care with the specific purpose of refurbishing it to create transitional housing for women over 55.

The property, which is coming up to its first anniversary in August 2020, provides accommodation for twenty women over 55 for a period of up to 18 months, with exit pathways in place to support them. This project adds to the existing five properties made available and supported by the PAYCE Foundation since 2017.

Speaking about the Pathways Home model, James Boyd, Director of the PAYCE Foundation said:

“Domestic violence continues to be one of society’s most pressing social challenges. The Pathways Home model provides a proven avenue for women to rebuild their lives, free from the fear of violence.

“I am pleased to see the program growing with new partnerships which will ensure more women and children can be assisted. There remains a bank of underutilised properties across Sydney and I would encourage more organisations to join the program that makes a real difference to the lives of women and children.’’

Neil Wendt, CEO of Twilight Aged Care, commented: “We are delighted that Beecroft house, formerly Jamieson House, will be welcomed under the new Pathways Home model, which showcases the benefits of turning meanwhile properties into transitional housing for women escaping domestic violence and homelessness. Twilight Aged Care has been operating for over 105 years and was originally created to support vulnerable women.

“We can see no better way of utilising our buildings for such purposes and are delighted by the success of Beecroft House, and look forward to working with the project partners on future properties to provide even more wonderful, safe and secure homes for women in need.”

The number of older women experiencing homelessness has increased 31% between 2011–2016 and the Pathways Home model seeks to create an additional 100,000 bed nights over the next three years.