Homelessness Week runs from August 1-7 and aims to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of homelessness via national and local events and campaigns. The theme for this year’s Homelessness Week is to end homelessness we need a plan.
Homelessness Australia is the national peak body for homelessness in Australia. They have put together information and resources for everyone to get involved on Homelessness Week. They also launched a major report ‘A Plan To End Homelessness’ to help Australia end homelessness within a decade.
A Plan To End Homelessness sets out clear targets for investment to reduce homelessness over time and end it within a decade. Building more social housing, investing in affordable rentals, lifting JobSeeker and raising Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and providing a housing guarantee to women and children fleeing family violence are among the recommendations made.
As Australians Investing In Women, we encourage all philanthropists to consider the role of your philanthropy in ending homelessness and how homelessness impacts women and girls.
There are many initiatives across the country working to achieve these targets and to meet the needs of homeless women and girls in the community. Consider giving them your support. Some highlights from our Project Showcase:
The Cornelia Program: Breaking the cycle of homelessness for vulnerable women and their babies: The Women’s, Launch Housing and HousingFirst have collaborated to develop the Cornelia Program – an Australian-first initiative that aims to break the cycle of homelessness and support pregnant women and new mothers to develop a lasting bond with their babies. They need your help to break the cycle of homelessness for vulnerable women and their babies.
Homes to Help: Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI) mission is to build a secure future for women and children in need by developing and providing good quality, long term affordable housing. In partnership with Platinum Institute Australia (PIA), a registered training organisation operating in Ballarat, Geelong and Braybrook), WPI is seeking a two-fold approach to build more social housing across Victoria and build strategies to positively impact the places where people live, learn, work and play by providing safe and affordable homes for families, particularly those escaping domestic violence. This partnership will provide real outcomes and a life-changing difference for women-led families in need of secure housing and enable students to receive positive education and attain the social skills and professional qualifications needed for a successful future and employability. Help WPI close the housing and financial gaps for women and their children who are predominantly suffering from financial disadvantage and domestic violence by providing safe and secure housing.
Older Women’s Housing Fund: Social Ventures Australia (SVA) aims to deliver a developed, costed and implementable financial model that unlocks private capital and Government funding to provide new, affordable housing for older women experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Victoria, NSW and QLD.
With housing and homelessness policy at a critical juncture, removing barriers before crisis, will avoid stress on a stretched social housing system and ensure older women are supported. Further, rising housing prices pressure low income earners, pensioners and people with few assets. Also, an assumption of our retirement system is you own your home. For many it’s unrealistic, with older women renting having increased 96% in 10 years.
SVA’s overarching goal is that older women have safe, secure, affordable homes as a foundation for wellbeing and fewer are at risk of homelessness. This can be achieved through structuring government investments that unlock capability of investors to direct private capital towards addressing Australia’s housing supply shortfall. This requires significant investment.
WINC Middle Women Housing Fund: Older Women in Cohousing [WINC] is creating a new model – the Middle Women Housing Fund – to enable women with insufficient assets to take part in the WINC cohousing community. These ‘middle women’ have some assets – but too much to qualify for social housing and too little to buy into the WINC community. Without assistance, they will whittle away these assets in the private rental market and in a few years be eligible for social housing – only to face a ten year wait, where they may well become homeless. We want women of all means to have the opportunity to live together in cohousing. Help WINC create and fund a financial model – the Middle Women Housing Fund – to enable women of modest assets (middle women) to purchase a small home in WINC to provide housing security and promote wellbeing in older age.
Her Voice Festival of Women’s Activism: Her Place Australian Women’s Heritage and Museum needs your support to help make visible the high incidence and impact of homelessness and domestic violence in Australia by bringing UNSEEN and The Lost Petition to the Her Voice Festival of Women’s Activism.
UNSEEN is a multimedia project created by Blur Projects and the Women’s Electoral Lobby NSW that shares the hidden experiences of women’s homelessness and housing insecurity. UNSEEN offers women who have, or are experiencing homelessness, an opportunity to engage with artists and advocates to share their stories. The women provide a first-hand insight into the diversity of who finds themselves homeless and why.
The Lost Petition is a powerful and harrowing work 30-metre-long fabric artwork containing the names of women and children who have lost their lives to male violence, from 2008 until present day. The work has been created by Dans Bain and is a platform for the people most affected by domestic abuse, family violence and gendered violence to be heard. The simultaneous intimacy of the work, signing for the dead, and its scale represent the immediacy of the crises and demands that we act to ensure that the petition doesn’t get any longer.
Under Cover – Documentary Film: Women over 50 are the fastest-growing cohort experiencing homelessness in Australia. Under Cover is a documentary film that follows an eclectic group of women over 50 who are tough and determined, while experiencing homelessness. Their moving but optimistic portraits lay bare the flaws in our society, as well as our economic fragility in the modern world. The stories of these women remind us that homelessness is not always visible and they could easily be you, me, your mother, your sister, your aunt or your grandmother.
Help this film get seen by as many people as possible. The goal is for this film to be used as a vehicle for change, a large public rollout of the film, as well as targeted communication surrounding the release of the film over the next 18 months.