CWH is bringing a silver lining to the COVID pandemic – converting empty student accommodation to a safe haven for vulnerable women


We are thrilled to announce that City West Housing (CWH) will be providing up to 20 affordable apartments for women who are fleeing domestic violence or are at risk of homelessness.

CWH has partnered with Women’s Community Shelters (WCS), Scape Australia and the City of Sydney (CoS) to convert 20 empty student accommodation apartments to safe and secure affordable housing for single women fleeing domestic and family violence or are at risk of homelessness.

The absence of international students due to the closing of international borders from the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in thousands of vacant student accommodation in the City of Sydney LGA. CWH will lease up to 20 studio units which will be offered to women who are referred by Women’s Community Centre and other women’s services in the inner city for 12-months. It is anticipated that the first residents will move in before Christmas.

City West Housing CEO, Leonie King, is looking forward to providing homes for this vulnerable population and supporting their transition into a long-term housing solution.

“Thank you to our partners Women’s Community Shelters, Scape Australia and the City of Sydney for collaborating on this important program to bring a positive outcome from the effects of the pandemic, to use vacant student accommodation to provide a home for some of our most vulnerable people in society,” said Leonie.

WCS will provide case management support to the tenants and will work together with CWH to support the tenants’ transition into secure and affordable accommodation at the end of the year-long project.

It is hoped that if this model is successful, it will be replicated across other student accommodation providers and become a sustainable affordable housing option in the future.



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