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.