Supporting older women in crisis

Published

November 30, 2021

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In June we opened a crisis accommodation facility that provides a safe space for older women experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Our team work with the women during their stay to secure long-term housing, and help with finances, mental health and any other support services they may need.

The project is the result of a partnership between the Victorian Government, Uniting Vic.Tas, the Uniting Church, Community Housing Limited and the Oak Building Group.

Since it opened, 4 women have moved in and are in the process of finding long-term housing.

The women age in range from late 40s to early 70s.

Two of the women have moved in after fleeing family violence.

Facility leader, Linda* says the move has made a positive difference for the women.

“It was hard when they first moved in, because we were in lockdown due to COVID-19,” says Linda.

“But now that restrictions have eased, the women are able to socialise and attend support groups.

“One of the women has been getting boxes of food and sharing them with the others, which is lovely to see.”

Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence found there is a gap in services for older women experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“Older women have only had access to rooming and boarding houses, which are not suitable for older women,” says Linda.

“Here, they can move into their own space, make it their own and feel a lot safer.

“I remember when one of the women first moved in. She burst into tears when she walked in the door. She couldn’t speak for a while. She was overcome with joy to have her own space.

“The women are happy to be here. But at the same time, they are also worried about the next step.

“We’re working closely with them to find long-term housing solutions.”

*This is a true story about a real person. Some details such as names have been changed to respect the wishes of the person featured. The photo accompanying this story is for illustrative purposes only. It is not a photo of the person featured in this story.

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