April 2019 Guest Speaker, Frances Crimmins

Our April speaker was Frances Crimmins, CEO of YWCA in Canberra, on “The role of social support“.

Frances is the former Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women, and former Board Director of No Sweat Fashion. In 2015, she received an Edna Ryan Award for advancing the status of women in the ACT. She also attended the Commission for the Status of Women in New York in 2017 and 2018.

Frances paid her respects to aboriginal elders and acknowledged that the land we met on always had been, and always would be, aboriginal land, having never been surrendered.

Her talk was on advocacy and how the Y tries to fill service gaps in the community. Last year they launched “advocacy priorities”. Their “Leading the change” campaign has four aims: gender responsive government; equality in the workplace; a life free from violence; and housing security. This year is the 70th anniversity of the YWCA. Their vision: “Girls and women thriving”.

The YWCA feels that the ACT should lead the way nationally in the well-being of women. The ACT’s Office for Women was originally part of Rosemary Follett’s office but now sits in the Community Services Directorate. It is underfunded, and there needs to be a women’s statement reinstated in the ACT budget.

Frances described the structural inequality that leads to older women’s over-representation in homelessness. This has been coming for years. The YWCA now works in housing as a “registered community housing provider”.

Shortly after her presentation to our meeting, Frances wrote a piece on this topic which is available online:

…For YWCA Canberra, addressing older women’s homelessness & housing crisis has been a longstanding policy priority. As a registered community housing provider, YWCA Canberra has been providing affordable housing & supportive tenancy services for women & families in Canberra for 60 years. And we are evolving our services to better meet the needs of this growing cohort. 

Rentwell is the first charitable property management service in the ACT to provide affordable rental accommodation to Canberrans on low incomes.  As a philanthropic model, Rentwell also provides those who own investment properties the opportunity to change someone’s life in a tangible way.  …

Frances Crimmins [photo credit: www.rentwell.com.au]