A new collaborative housing project in the Illawarra will focus on offering single retired women an opportunity to live in a more connected way.
This is positive news for Dianne Shiels, who since being widowed in 2014 has found it difficult to secure a private rental property.
Ms Shiels, 68, who receives the Disability Support Pension, believed this was because of her age, and also her dog, Ariane.
"I was looking for a rental in early 2018, and there were quite a few places to rent," she said.
"However, when you turn up, there's half a dozen to a dozen people lining up with their applications.
"I've got an impeccable background and credentials, but because I have a dog, I believe it was something that was going against me.
"I had to submit a photo of the dog, and she is the cutest, quiet, and house-trained. But I just felt my age and the dog went against me."
Ms Shiels, a single retired principal, is currently boarding with a friend at Port Kembla, but will soon call Jasmine Grove home.
Set within the new Henry Brooks Estate at IRT Kanahooka retirement village, Jasmine Grove will aim to provide a more affordable retirement living option for a group of eight single women.
Construction of IRT Group's collaborative retirement housing precinct for women over 55 is progressing to schedule, with all eight villas and the community building already erected.
Partially funded by the federal government, it will feature eight private one-bedroom fully self-contained villas, set around a community building. The villas are pet-friendly.
Collaborative housing is a way of living that is designed to encourage participation, sharing and community building, while enabling residents to also have their own private, secure home.
"It's just taken all the worry out of trying to find something, and with all the benefits of being societal," Ms Shiels said.
"It's only eight villas, and so that's eight ladies that you can have a lovely meal with now and then, interact with, or help grow your own vegetables with.
"It has so many plusses. You pay a weekly rent, and it's actually less than my board that I'm paying here."
IRT CEO Patrick Reid said since announcing Jasmine Grove in September, there had been more than 100 expressions of interest lodged by Illawarra women wanting to learn more.
Mr Reid said the concept was attractive to what was a growing number of women approaching retirement who see the value of living amongst a supportive community of women.
IRT is still accepting EOIs from women over 55 to live there.
The construction of Jasmine Grove is scheduled for completion in July, with residents expected to be able to move in from September.
An IRT spokesperson wished to clarify that Jasmine Grove requires a minimum upfront payment of $199,000 plus weekly recurrent charges, which Ms Shiels refers to in the above story as rent.
These charges cover the cost of operating the village and the Jasmine Grove shared spaces.
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