We salute our bold women

2017 has started with great excitement for McAuley Community Services for Women as we begin to see the fruits of our vision and hard work, to create Victoria’s first purpose built accommodation and support hub, pay off.

McAuley House was designed for a purpose, and that was to promote health and well-being, as well as encourage independence. We saw an immediate transformation among residents as they moved in. Because of the design, women felt better, socialised more, cooked more and participated in the wider community more. There is a marked improvement in their wellbeing and confidence levels. .

The investment and foresight of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea and the Victorian State Government, is paying immediate dividends. As the many visitors to McAuley House in Pickett Street are seeing first-hand, our different and women focused approach to housing first is working.

Our challenge now, as a community, is to make sure that many other McAuley Houses are built to provide other women, who have experienced multiple issues and long-term homelessness, with this crucial stepping stone into independence.

With barely a moment to draw breath after the opening of McAuley House, we have had to turn our attention to funding issues created by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the increasing number of people sleeping rough in Melbourne, as well as providing input into the Victorian Budget conversation.

Our monthly statistics from McAuley Care reveal that most families leaving our safe house go onto refuges or couch surf with family and friends (still safe, but essentially remaining homelessness). Whilst the State Government’s investment into additional housing is starting to make a positive impact, we still need to do more to keep women and children safe in their homes in the first place.

We are delighted to announce that our new partnership with BaptCare Affordable Housing has seen four families move out from our refugees and placed into permanent housing. We look forward to building on this initiative over the coming year.

This year the theme of International Women’s Day on 8 March was, Be Bold for Change.

We see the women we support being bold every day in their journey out of violence and homelessness. Our staff, volunteers and supporters are bold in their work to end family violence and homelessness. We witness daily the bold actions that the Sisters of Mercy make and take in their work for women and children.

I encourage you all to read and marvel at the stories in this newsletter. They are inspiring in their change-making.