Minister launches July edition of Parity magazine at Uniting ahead of Homelessness Week.
The confronting issue of pregnancy and homelessness was the focus at the launch of the Homelessness Week edition of the Council to Homeless Persons Parity magazine hosted by Uniting Vic.Tas in Melbourne last week.
Following a welcome from Uniting General Manager Housing and Property, Kristie Looney, Victorian Minister for Women, Hon. Natalie Hutchins officially launched the edition, recounting her own story about growing up in social housing.
“I’m the daughter of a young woman of 17 who found herself pregnant and we lived in high-rise public housing for the first five years of my life,” Ms Hutchins said.
“Mum wanted to get out of that situation and by the time I turned 18 we had moved house 20 times.
“I know what it is like to have to pack up a house at five minutes to midnight because we were behind in the rent, or they gave us very short notice.”
The launch was attended by representatives from Uniting, along with partners from across the sector including Council to Homeless Persons, Launch Housing and Housing First.
There was also a panel discussion discussing the impact of pregnancy and homelessness on both women, their children and their families.
Ms Looney recounted a particular story involving a young woman who fell pregnant in high school.
“She was very young, her son was born with a disability, and she was told he wouldn’t walk or talk,” Ms Looney said.
“She was young, she was single and applying for rental properties and couldn’t get a look in, so she found herself homeless.
“Then, one day her life changed. She was given the opportunity to rent a property through a social housing provider. Rent was affordable, the home was long term and it meant she could really focus on the important things in life.
“Things like finishing Year 12, getting a Uni degree, and being a Mum helping her son doing therapy so he could have best chance in life. She was able to get a part-time job, so her income changed, and she was able to build confidence.
“This story is a true story – it’s my story. It’s why I’m here today, why I work in this sector and it’s what motivates me every day.”
Uniting’s Rose McGowan Manager Curran Place, Mother and Baby Residential Withdrawal Service joined a panel discussion around exploring the extent, nature and impact of homelessness on pregnancy outcomes for mother and infant.
Two articles in this edition have been authored by our Uniting colleagues – Kristie Looney, General Manager of Housing and Property contributed an opinion piece and Rose McCrohan from Uniting AOD wrote a piece in collaboration with Sally Coutts and Kerri Felemonow from The Women’s Hospital about the work we do to support pregnant women and new mums experiencing AOD-related harm and homelessness.