Parity May edition Launched at McAuley House

McAuley Community Services for Women hosted the launch of the May issue of Parity at McAuley House in early June. Parity is the national publication of Council to Homeless Persons and the May edition theme was, It has to stop: Homelessness Violence.

The issue was launched by Fiona Richardson, Minister for Women and for the Prevention of Family Violence with the keynote speech delivered by Rob Hulls (pictured), Director, Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University.

Our CEO Jocelyn Bignold spoke about the need for a gender analysis to be applied to all Government-funded policies and programs for people who are homeless.

Ms Bignold told the launch that “Homelessness and family violence can be stopped. Australia needs to invest in strengthening women’s capacity to remain safely in their own homes; in affordable and public housing and along with private rental subsidies and tailored support services; and in grass roots cultural change within the community to turn around attitudes which support and condone violence against women.”.

McAuley Community Services for Women is campaigning for all publically funded programs to be developed using a gender based analysis so that funding is targeted correctly for greatest effectiveness. The programs also need to be evaluated and their outcomes made public.

“We want the focus to be on funding gender specific, supportive housing initiatives. Too many of the current innovative housing programs that are being funded have not been properly evaluated,” said Jocelyn Bignold.

McAuley Community Services for Women’s research shows that current programs in place in Victoria and around Australia inadvertently discriminate against women because they are focussed on solving ‘rough sleeper’ homelessness , which is mainly how men experience homelessness and is a policy direction prioritised by governments. These include: Street to Home, Common Ground, the Housing and Support Initiative and the Integrated Rehabilitation and Recovery Care Program.

“This shouldn’t be a case of ‘either/or’ we need both responses, just as we need parity in funding” said Jocelyn.