A community housing provider's plan to build accommodation for vulnerable women on their Ainslie site has been approved.
YWCA will build 10 supported accommodation units at its Rutherford Crescent site adjacent Bill Pye Park.
YWCA chief executive Frances Crimmins said it would go a very small way to meeting the shortfall of 3000 social housing dwellings across Canberra.
"In December 2020, there were more than 1000 women in Canberra registered with specialist housing services," Ms Crimmins said.
"The majority were homeless or in housing crisis due to domestic or family violence.
"We currently have women in our housing services who are in their 80s and 90s. No one wants to see anyone's grandmother in such dire circumstances."
The development will focus on providing accommodation to older women and those fleeing domestic violence.
Ms Crimmins said the ACT was in "dire straits" as one of the most expensive rental markets in the country while the YWCA was inundated with people, particularly older women, in need of support.
The Ainslie site will include eight studio units and two larger ones for families.
Ms Crimmins said the project would now go to tender and hoped work would begin by the second half of the year.
The project has stirred backlash from the neighbouring community, who argued the land, which is zoned as community services, should remain for use by local residents.
The Ainslie Residents' Association say the land should be used as a childcare centre while the inner-north suburbs grapple with growing demand.
The current zoning allows supported accommodation and Ms Crimmins said accommodation for vulnerable women was the best use of the plot which the YWCA bought under a 99-year lease in 1992.
"This is an excellent opportunity for us to use a block of land we own for the greater public good," she said.
"We look forward to working with the community in the months ahead as our build progresses."
The building on the site has formerly been used as a youth and women's centre and is currently used to hold sector meetings and co-ordinate family and school care.
One building on the site is currently leased to the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Association.
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