The problem: homelessness and family violence is increasing for women and children. The number of women and children seeking assistance from specialist homelessness agencies has increased by an average of 9% every year since 2013-14 (AIHW 2019). Women experiencing family violence often face an impossible decision: stay in an unsafe home and risk losing their children to Child Protection services, or flee with their children but become homeless. If they do flee, they may still lose their children, because they can’t to provide the safe, stable home that children need and deserve. There is simply not enough safe, affordable housing and support for women in this situation. As a result, thousands of women are forced to live in cars or unsafe accommodation that puts them and their children at greater risk.
The solution: Families Supportive Housing project. We are building an Australian-first housing project for women and children who have experienced family violence and homelessness. In collaboration with Uniting Vic.Tas, Families Supportive Housing will provide permanent homes and onsite support for more than 60 women and 200 dependent children. Not only will these women and children have a safe, permanent home, they will also have a full range of support services onsite, including family counselling and trauma support, help with parenting, and pathways to education and employment.
Families Supportive Housing will permanently end the homelessness of women and children escaping family violence and enable them to recover from trauma in a supportive environment. The objectives of this project are to:
In preparation for women and children to move into the site in the first half of 2022, we are currently developing a monitoring and evaluation framework. This will include a program logic, be aligned to our existing Outcomes Framework, and will focus on improving the health and wellbeing of women and their children, improving families’ connection to services and community, and improving engagement with education and employment. This will enable us to undertake a developmental evaluation throughout the implementation of the project and the first 5 years of delivering housing, services and support to women.