Global Sisters Affordable, Permanent Housing for Solo Mums & Older Women

The Community Living Proposal

The Problem

Housing is increasingly unaffordable and is one of the most substantial drivers in preventing women from experiencing financial security and stability.

Lower-income households are struggling to find housing that they can afford, and for those reliant on social security, finding affordable houses in the private market is near impossible.

Anglicare’s rental affordability snapshot suggests that nationally, for a single mother:

on the minimum wage


of rentals were affordable

on parenting payment


of rentals were affordable

on JobSeeker


of rentals were affordable

It’s unsurprising then, that homelessness is rising rapidly


increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2021


people were homeless on the 2021 census night

This data, of course, does not include the impacts of the latest spike in rents and mortgages. The impacts are intergenerational. Those with houses to bequest their children are better placed to build security, those without risk seeing their children also locked out of the housing market.

Right now, the majority of women on lower incomes are at breaking point, and while significant structural change is needed to address the problem and stop it from getting worse, we believe that immediate, practical solutions must be rolled out to address the current crisis.

Affordable, Sustainable, Intentional Community Living

To pilot the benefits of an affordable, sustainable community living arrangement, Global Sisters will be working with:


Local Councils


Tiny House Suppliers

We are in the process of identifying sites where we can build affordable home communities. Our primary focus will be on finding sites that can subdivided into three or four lots with separate dwellings placed upon them. We’ll engage women in our program, with the intent to create intentional communities of support. Ideally, these homes will use onsite renewable energy and where possible, water collection, to minimise their environmental footprint and reduce the cost of living pressures.

We are working with academics to identify the most cost-efficient, sustainable, functional, connected and aesthetically appealing ways to develop these sites. 

The goal is for the total cost per home to be

$280k – $300k

Combined with the government’s shared equity scheme, this will allow women to enter the housing market and begin building financial stability and security. The Shared Equity scheme sees the government pay up to 40% of the cost of a new build in return for an equivalent interest in the property. 

To buy a home under this scheme, women need only

2% deposit


Total cost per week of owning a home


assuming a 6% interest rate, 30-year loan term, and loan amount of $168,000

Parenting Payment & Family Tax Benefits

A woman with two children receiving the parenting payment and family tax benefits has an approximate income of


per week

Servicing the loan will cost around


of her income

Minimum wage & Family Tax Benefits

A woman on minimum wage receiving family tax benefit has an after-tax income of approximately


per week

The cost of the loan for her represents


of her income

It’s worth noting that the loan repayments are substantially less than almost every other accommodation option currently available.


Finding suitable sites, achieving community support and getting council approval for subdivisions that may fall outside of current zoning regulations may take some effort. Global Sisters, however, has identified and is starting to work with supportive councils to pilot the program.

Public-Private Support Needed


Global Sisters needs to hire a project manager to bring the pilot to life.

Some women will need assistance raising the 2% deposit.


Local government support on zoning and land acquisition.

Federal Government Shared Equity Scheme.


Housing finance/ mortgages designed specifically for this cohort.

Building supplies and build partner.

The Benefits

We believe this approach will yield the following benefits

Allow women to access stable and secure housing

Create an asset that can be bequeathed to their children, creating intergenerational security

Help unwind the cultural emphasis on needing bigger houses with more space

Build intentional micro-communities that support and encourage one another

Shift towards a more sustainable way of living with a lower ecological footprint

Through the pilot, Global Sisters will be able to create the prototype and develop a financially viable model to scale the program.

Get in touch to find out more

Gershon Nimbalker
Policy and Advocacy Advisor, Global Sisters

Mandy Richards
CEO, Founder Global Sisters

Possible Options

Petit Maison – Salty Builds

Approximately $155,000 – $160,000 with delivery.

Floorspace – 21m. Living Space 30sqm including top floor.

The Echo

A 60 sqm ‘secondary dwelling’ option has greater flexibility to people who cannot afford a decent quality new house, but might be able to set up in, say, their parent’s back yard.

Co-Living Buildings

Options for homes include communal (and beautiful) co-living or boarding house designs. These can have up to 12 bedrooms and be designed for families.