New Program Launched to Support Women and Children Escaping Domestic Violence
30 October 2017 at 12:40 pm
Women and children escaping domestic violence in New South Wales will be provided with medium term housing and support, thanks to a new initiative launched by an Australian not-for-profit community housing provider.
Evolve Housing’s latest pilot program, Safe Foundations, aims to help women and children find stability through an integrated approach, combining housing support, referral coordination and employment and training opportunities.
These opportunities are undertaken whilst recipients receive subsidised rental accommodation, and exit into private rental marketing in the hope they could live independently within three years.
Support needs for families will be identified by Evolve Housing’s support coordination unit. Families will then have access to all of Evolve Housing’s support programs, including kick starter packs providing household essentials items, no interest “evoloans” to purchase whitegoods and education grants worth up to $10,000 over three years.
Western Sydney has been flagged as a high need area for the program, with Blacktown and Penrith recording the highest numbers of domestic violence incidents of anywhere in NSW according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
Evolve Housing’s CEO, Andrea Galloway, said that the community housing provider (CHP) recognised its responsibility to play a role in delivering positive social outcomes for at-risk members of society.
With domestic violence a growing issue in the community, Galloway said it was vital to provide safe and secure housing options for women and children, to facilitate them on their journey to independence.
“Each night 50,000 women experience homelessness, with domestic and family violence noted as the largest contributor for women to this issue. Safe Foundations provides subsidised medium term housing and tailored support plans in the context of a broader support system,” Galloway said.
“In order to facilitate long lasting change for these women, we are taking an integrated approach which combines housing reassurance with training and employment opportunities.
“The three year program is designed to connect women to training and employment while they navigate family law issues and stabilise their lives ultimately resulting in them moving into the private rental market and living independently.”
Galloway added that the high cost of housing wasn’t “the only issue locking these women out of the private rental market”.
“Many struggle to find landlords willing to accept them as tenants, resulting in families who are already in a vulnerable place being locked out of the housing market even further,” she said.
“Without providing transitional housing support many women will be faced with the reality of homelessness and become trapped in the cycle of disadvantage.”
The Safe Foundations program will utilise resources from a number of partner organisations to maximise the positive impact of the initiative.
Women’s Community Shelters will spearhead the pilot project, operating in Penrith and Blacktown with a view to expand across Sydney if successful.
Annabelle Daniel, the CEO of Women’s Community Shelters, said her organisation was pleased to be taking part in the program from the ground up.
“We are delighted to be partnering with the highly innovative Evolve Housing to be delivering Safe Foundations for women and children leaving domestic and family violence,” Daniel said.
“We know that moving on from crisis can take years, and that safe homes, ongoing support and social inclusion are the keys to success. We very much look forward to working together.”