Beyond this important partnership with Nightingale, WPI also recently completed construction of four light-filled units in Melbourne’s outer east. Dubbed the Older Women’s Housing Project, the Beaconsfield development was designed to assist an overlooked demographic of low-income women over 55 who had some savings — making them ineligible for government social housing — but not enough to finance a mortgage or own their own home.
‘It’s not a solution for all women – many do not have the savings to invest – but innovative solutions are needed to stem the rising tide of older women’s homelessness,’ Jeanette explains.
Housing affordability has fallen to its worst level in three decades, according to a new PropTrack report, but those who can’t afford to buy are also struggling to find a rental, with a vacancy rate of just 1.3 per cent of all rentals still empty. And the number of women becoming homeless is growing faster than men — something the WPI is working to address with their community housing.
Tiffany Sassafrass and her six-year-old, Sunny, had been couch-surfing and struggling to find somewhere to live before WPI helped her into a brand-new home inside one of the coveted Nightingale apartment buildings in Brunswick.
Women’s homelessness organisation Juno referred Tiffany to WPI and set her up for an interview. But after three years without permanent housing, she ‘couldn’t believe it’ when they later told her she could move into Skye House designed by Breathe Architecture. ‘I am so grateful,’ Tiffany adds. ‘It’s warm, safe, eco-friendly, affordable and (home) to an amazing community of people.’
‘I could not find permanent accommodation (in the Northern Rivers where I lived for 18 years) due to the housing crisis, so moved to Melbourne to be closer to my adult children,’ Tiffany says. ‘Unfortunately, I ended up in emergency housing due to the housing crisis down here also.’
Tiffany had been couch surfing and without a permanent home for three years before securing her beautiful home. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files