November 05th, 2021
With COVID-19 restrictions temporarily halting its regular services, Royal Far West (RFW) partnered with Women & Children First to redevelop its accommodation facilities into a ‘pop-up’ Safe House for single women, and women with children who were at imminent risk of homelessness domestic abuse during the pandemic.
The six-month initiative (July-Dec 2020), funded by the Department of Communities and Justice provided safe accommodation, respite and case management for more than 100 women and children. During this time, the program was able to move 80 per cent of clients to stable housing for at least the next six months, with over 50 per cent still in the same accommodation today.
In addition to crisis accommodation, the program offered case management to the residents and connected them with the necessary support services for mental health, rehabilitation, drug and alcohol services, counselling, legal aid, housing, and financial supports. Their children were enrolled at local public schools and day care centres.
“While the pandemic bought many things to a standstill and restricted the way we could support country children in need, we quickly realised our organisation could continue to be of service by supporting vulnerable women and children in our local community,” Jaqueline Emery, Royal Far West CEO said.
An important component of the initiative was the inclusion of women on temporary visas who are often casual employees, many of whom had lost their job and could not afford housing, or their partner had lost their job and family violence has escalated.
The success of the Safe House initiative shows that vulnerable women and children living in Australia, regardless of their citizenship, are in need of crisis support.
“Providing safe accommodation, combined with wraparound care for mothers and children, including stable education, can support these families get back on their feet and help end the cycle of homelessness – so that intergenerational trauma or inequity is not repeated,” said Ms Emery.
Read the Manly Pop-up Safe House report here.
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