Who Are We?
We are an inclusive, proactive and supportive group of like-minded women who meet monthly for company and conversation, discussion of issues faced by older women with the option of also participating in diverse interest groups.”
Currently we meet on the third Wednesday of the month starting at 11.00 at the Grand View Hotel, 174 Great Western Highway, Wentworth Falls. Visitors and new members welcome.
We have an exciting schedule of social activities planned for 2022. Download the OWN BLUE MOUNTAINS 2022 YEARLY EVENT PROGRAM here.
Join Our Group
Phone: 0400 349 022
The Eco-Affordable Housing Project
In response to the Greater Blue Mountains’ increasing housing crisis, OWN Blue Mountains has joined forces with BMCAN’s Wild Mountains Collective to explore options for creating eco-affordable housing for older single women and low income ‘creatives’ in the Greater Blue Mountains.
The Greater Blue Mountains has historically been an area offering affordable rental and home ownership to people on low incomes, including age and disability pensioners, ‘creatives’ (whose average incomes are half that of the national average), single parent families, and those living on jobseeker allowances. This is no longer the case. The exponential rising cost of urban housing and the impact of COVID has further encouraged ‘tree-changers’ from the city to move to fringe and regional areas. And this influx has led to a decline in affordable housing in the Greater Blue Mountains.
Our particular focus is on older single women (the fastest growing group at risk of homelessness) and low-income people working in the creative arts sector.
The project will provide an overview of:
- the scope of the challenge
- how to link housing solutions with eco-sustainability, energy efficiency and creative engagement in community, food security and associated services
- international best practice
- innovative solutions for affordable housing across Australia – personal stories from the front line
- an overview of the NFP affordable housing and social housing sector in NSW
needs, solutions and opportunities in the Greater Blue Mountains community.
The Greater Blue Mountains is a fringe urban area (located on the western edge of Greater Sydney), encompassing six national parks in its World Heritage Area – Blue Mountains, Wollemi, Gardens of Stone, Kanagra-Boyd and Nattai – and the 26 urban villages of the City of Blue Mountains (80,000 people), the City of Lithgow (13,000 people) and the City of Hawkesbury (60,000 people).
Local employment is concentrated in the education, training, healthcare and social assistance sectors, with significant employment in accommodation and food services through local tourism.
As a tree-change destination for many people transitioning to retirement, the Greater Blue Mountains has:
- an above average ageing population
- an above average population on low incomes
- a high proportion of its working age population who travel outside the region for work
- an increasing percentage of residents in white collar jobs able to work from home or at local co-working centres
- the need for tertiary students to travel outside the area for education.
The Greater Blue Mountains also has a high number of economically-disadvantaged older (50+) single women – because of factors such as little or no superannuation, separation, divorce, domestic violence or death of a partner.
It also has many low income creatives. The Greater Blue Mountains is home to numerous artists, writers and musicians who support a range of arts organisations, galleries and theatre groups. Community radio station Radio Blue Mountains provides a platform for local musicians and creative initiatives.
These two groups find themselves in straitened circumstances, often paying a very high percentage of their pension on rent. In addition, there are few available rentals (the current vacancy rate is 0.6%) and exponentially increasing rents as affordable housing availability decreases and comes under further pressure with the proliferation of Airbnbs.
Alignment of BMCC Planetary Health Initiative and the Eco-Affordable Housing Project
Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) has recently launched a Planetary Health Initiative recognising the interconnectedness of life and the need for all living things to be able to live together for mutual benefit. As a custodian of the Greater Blue Mountains’ large world heritage area (70% of total land area), Council is strongly committed to environmental sustainability in all its activities.
The Eco-Affordable Housing Project is aligned to the Council’s Planetary Health Initiative in its exploration of how to create a vision and possibilities for sustainable eco-living for both older single women and low income creatives in the Greater Blue Mountains.
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Find out today how you can get involved and shape the future of older women in Australia.
We would love to hear from you.
Any enquiry is welcome and we value your contribution.