City West Housing

City West Housing engaged us to demonstrate the part City West Housing plays in giving over 700 people secure, safe and affordable housing in Central Sydney.

The challenge

Sydney’s population has boomed, rental prices have risen steadily for years and security of tenure is at an all time low, making it increasingly difficult for many people to find affordable housing and work centrally in Sydney.

Established in 1994, City West Housing is a tier one registered community housing provider with strong development capability and the mission to “build community diversity through the provision of quality affordable rental housing, allowing people to live and work locally.”

In February 2018, City West Housing became a partner in the Everybody’s Home campaign to raise their voice in putting affordable housing well and truly on the map in the press and national consciousness.

The solution

We knew how much residents benefited from the affordable housing City West Housing provides in Central Sydney, but the stories of lives transformed had not yet been told.

We interviewed their residents to capture their journeys from struggling with private rental to flourishing when given access to affordable housing. We listened to people across a range of life stages: a teacher who grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and was being driven out of the city due to rental prices, a mother with a disabled child struggling to pay rent after a number of rental price-hikes, and a victim of domestic abuse who needed help creating a new and peaceful start in Central Sydney away from a violent partner.

With the opening of a new development due in Harold Park in spring 2019, we recognised the opportunity to demonstrate the significant role City West Housing plays in developing affordable housing in the city. Inviting Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore, residents, stakeholders from the housing sector and the city’s top tier media, we coordinated a successful sod turn which thrust the organisation into the spotlight.

The outcome

Once we had captured residents stories, we pitched to media to raise awareness of the realities of affordable housing and how City West Housing was helping people to live and work locally. were keen to bust the myths surrounding affordable housing in Australia and over a series of articles showcased how City West Housing’s residents – a teacher living in Zetland and a public sector worker living in Eveleigh – had benefited from moving into affordable apartments.

The Daily Telegraph printed a piece entitled ‘How affordable housing is helping workers cut their rent and commute’ with clear links directly to City West Housing’s application page which reached 280,000 people. The piece was then published on reaching an audience of over 1 million. The story was so popular that it was then syndicated on Daily Mail online – reaching a further 644,000 people!

The sod turn attracted media attention too, with coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Domain, Daily Telegraph online, The Conversation and on Channel 7.



ABC Australia interviewed City West Housing’s CEO, Leonie King, for a national feature piece about older single women who are being given the chance to save while living in affordable housing.

As a resultof the press coverage we generated, City West Housing gained national exposure with the article directing people to their website and application process.