EACH year in Queensland more than a thousand young homeless women, many with children, are forced into hotel rooms because of a shortage of emergency accommodation.
It’s a grim reflection of the rising rate of homeless women in Queensland – particularly the result of domestic violence.
Despite a big injection of State Government funding last financial year, support services struggle to keep up with the demand.
In the midst of the housing crisis, Queensland’s oldest charity, The Lady Musgrave Trust, and Micah Projects are working together to combat both domestic violence and homelessness amongst young women.
The Lady Musgrave Trust chief executive officer Karen Lyon Reid said a new partnership would allow the trust to expand its reach to provide accommodation and support services to more young women and their children who needed the trust’s help the most.
“… More than 100 women in Brisbane battle homelessness on any given night, and domestic violence is a major cause of injury and homelessness to women,” Ms Lyon Reid said.
“Half of the homeless are women, but there is much more accommodation for men than for women. And particularly safe accommodation for women and their children is hard to find.
“You just can’t put women and children in a backpacker hostel.”
For more than 130 years The Lady Musgrave Trust has assisted more than 10,000 young women and their children by providing safe and secure accommodation. The trust provides accommodation mainly in central Brisbane and the city’s north.
The plan is to buy more accommodation, particularly in the city south, including Logan.
Another key part of the trust’s partnership is with the National Affordable Housing Consortium to manage the tenants and properties for the new service.
“It’s about a new model that hasn’t been done a lot, particularly for young women,” Ms Lyon Reid said.
“Our idea is tackle that front end for a three-month term and put them in high-quality accommodation so they can really settle in and stabilise their lives before moving on to more permanent solutions.”
The Lady Musgrave Trust will be tackling the issues of domestic violence and homelessness among young women at its Eighth Annual Forum on Services for Homeless Women on September 7.
The forum agenda will focus on the links between domestic violence and homelessness, and key experts from leading organisations will discuss innovative solutions being undertaken by the sector and government.
It will also launch the 2016-17 Handy Guide for Homeless Women, which provides women in need with vital information on where to find housing, legal advice, food and other services.
By Mark Bowling