Housing partnership supports women and families

With new housing coming through the State Government’s ‘Rapid Housing’ strategy, McAuley Community Services for Women has partnered with Baptcare Affordable Housing to provide women and children currently in refuges with new homes and support.

The partnership that began at the start of 2017 has already seen four families move from McAuley’s refuges and into their own ‘homes,’ and escaping family violence.

The intention is for this, and other similar partnerships to grow and provide more families with housing and the wrap around services they need to prosper and regain their confidence and lives.

Family violence is the main reason women and children end up homeless in Australia, with a third of those seeking accommodation support, fleeing a violent situation at home.

Carol Vale, McAuley’s Community Services Manager, said: “This new partnership offers more than a glimmer of hope for the women and children we support. It provides them with housing that is safe, secure, affordable and for as long as it takes them to find jobs and become established.”

“What we are able to do, alongside Baptcare Affordable Housing, is to prevent women and children entering the destructive cycle of homelessness in a short time,” she said.

Last year McAuley Care, which runs Victoria’s only 24/7 accessible safe house and refuges, supported 183 women and 174 children. Only seven women were able to return home safely; 75 women moved into safe accommodation options, including our refuges. Around 12 women and children have been able to pursue housing options through flexible support packages rolled out by the Victorian Government. The packages of up to $7,000 pay for rent, bond and relocation costs.

The partnership with Baptcare Affordable Housing offers another option for women and children, freeing up space within the refuges for the increasing number of arrivals of families without permanent residency.

John Timmer, Baptcare’s Affordable Housing Development Manager, said the partnership had already shown the importance of making property simple, efficient and stress free.

“The link with McAuley is a good fit with our mission which is to support people into wellbeing and not failure,” Mr Timmer said.

Baptcare Affordable Housing has a growth strategy with the aim of providing 500 additional properties over the next five years to people needing housing and support.

A recent study by Australian Justice Equality Rights Access revealed that among the top four issues for Australian women was a critical shortage of affordable, appropriate and safe housing (including emergency housing and shelters) for women experiencing violence.

“If women and children are unable to remain or return home safely, it is critical that a full range of options is available to meet the variety of needs. This new initiative does just that, and showcases the importance of partnership approaches,” Ms Vale said.