Womens logo

The Cornelia Program: Breaking the cycle of homelessness for vulnerable women and their babies

The Royal Women's Hospital

Supported beneficiary groups within Women & Girls
Age Demographic
Varied Ages
Project Focus
Project Area

Project Description

We need support to help break 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.

This housing, healthcare and social support program provides:

  • Access to transitional/temporary accommodation for pregnant women and new mothers for a period of up to 12 months;
  • Access to maternity, neonatal, sexual, reproductive and specialist women’s health services for tenants;
  • Care coordination services to support women to access other health and psychosocial programs;
  • Support for tenants to access long-term housing and ongoing care coordination services.


Thanks to philanthropic and government partners, women and babies started moving in into 36 purpose-built apartments in August 2021.

We seek funding to provide additional wellbeing support to our women to help them onto a successful and sustainable path.

Expected Outcomes

Your investment will augment existing funding and provide support to approximately 36 new mums per year, to help them onto a successful and sustainable path.

You can provide resources and activities for vulnerable women, to assist with the engagement, nurture and care for their babies.

Specifically, we seek funding to offer:

  1. Transition packs for mother and baby when they leave Cornelia and establish their new home

Moving to a new home can be an expensive and stressful time. Transition packs will include bespoke items to help each mother (ie vouchers for additional home items) and cater for the next stage of her baby’s development (ie nappies, toddler clothes, books, toys, classes).

Investment: $18,000 per year  


  1. Wellbeing massages

Focussing on women’s emotional and physical wellbeing and promoting relaxation during an often very stressful time before and after birth. Offered three times a week at Cornelia to make it as easy as possible to access.

Investment: $13,500 per year 


  1. Art and music therapy

Art therapy and/or music therapy is helpful for mothers who are experiencing mental health symptoms and psychological disorders including depression and anxiety. It can help mothers feel more in touch with their emotions and process their trauma, directly benefitting their babies.

We will offer group sessions at Cornelia (including lunch) to enhance social connections as well.

Investment: $12,000 per year 


You will be supporting women who are amongst the most marginalised and stigmatised in our society. Their disadvantage is caused by the compounding impact of family violence, intergenerational trauma, homelessness, and complex substance use dependence.

You will help to improve their wellbeing and address some of their complex needs.

Project Data & Lessons

The measurement:
A key component of the Cornelia Program is an independent impact evaluation study, commencing in 2021 to understand how our work is helping/helped the women and children and to understand how effective the program is.

Project Dates

Project Commences: June 1, 2021
Project Completes: June 1, 2025

Funding Details

Funding Needed
Current Funding
Total Project Costs
Approved Tax Deductability Status
Other Funding Sources
Other Support Opportunities
Impact investment

Organisation Details

The Royal Women's Hospital
ABN: 62787822077


Jason Smith
Phone: (03) 8345 2818

About The Royal Women's Hospital

As Australia’s first specialist public hospital for women and newborns, the Women’s holds a distinctive role in the healthcare system. We are proud of our history of leadership and advocacy on a range of sensitive, complex and challenging women’s health issues.

What do we do?

The Women’s delivers specialist maternity, gynaecology and wrap-around health services to women and babies in Melbourne, as well as those with complex needs from across Australia.

We are also a significant provider of education and help train the next generation of midwives, social workers, nurses, obstetricians, neonatologists and other specialists.

We are passionate advocates in areas of women’s health that have long been overlooked or stigmatized, including abortion, endometriosis, disability, family violence, menopause, incontinence, mental health disorders, sexual assault and substance use in pregnancy.

Our advocacy activities aim to address health disadvantage through funding, policy, and system reform.

Our priority areas

Our vision is to create healthier futures for women and babies. Philanthropy is integral to the achievement of our vision by amplifying our impact across six priority action areas:

  • Increasing access to family planning and contraceptive care;
  • Discovering novel interventions to ensure babies survive and thrive;
  • Transforming how health systems address family violence;
  • Shining a light on areas of women’s health that are critically under-represented such as pelvic pain, problematic menopausal symptoms, incontinence and gynaecological cancers;
  • Developing the next generation of researchers in women’s and newborn health;
  • Ending infertility for young cancer survivors.

Related Projects

The Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation

Let's talk Lady Parts

Awareness and research are the only cures to the 8 gynaecological cancers. Only 1 of the 8 cancers has a screening test and treatment. The other seven gynae cancers are often not diagnosed until they are already in the advanced...
The Social Outfit

Thrive Through Employment

Each year up to 16 young refugee, asylum seeker and new migrant women will be engaged in The Social Outfit’s Retail Training Program. Recruited via our partner networks of settlement agencies, suitable trainee candidates are offered 3-months paid work-experience, one...
Launch Housing

Families Supportive Housing

The problem: homelessness and family violence is increasing for women and children. 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...
Media Diversity Australia

Women of Colour Mentorship Program

MDA's Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories report outlined that not only are those telling the stories on screen predominately Anglo –Celtic but so are those working in senior television news management roles are predominately Anglo –Celtic men. This project...