Welcome to Week 17

OUT IN THE COLD 

Fighting Homelessness in Winter

In WEEK 17 we look at some of the challenges faced by our clients during the winter period, and why women are the fastest rising at-risk group.

Jan Berriman, CEO of YMCA Victoria talks about how Winter is particularly tough on the growing cohort of older women who are finding themselves in accommodation crisis.

“Young women are not getting access to affordable housing, single women are not getting access to affordable housing, the fastest growing homeless cohort is older women over 55 and this is all because over their lifetime they can’t get into housing that is sustainable or affordable. It is not just about the squeaky wheel.

Gender equality over a lifetime is just coming home to roost. It is something like the perfect storm with gender inequality, family violence and affordable housing which is causing a cohort of older women to become homeless. That is such an indictment on our society. We have women coming here now who have never been part of the homelessness sector, they don’t know the community sector and have never used Centrelink. Now how does that happen? I just don’t think Australians want to put up with that sort of stuff, that their mother or grandmother could end up homeless.

We have a program called Pathways to Independence funded by philanthropics to try and sustain women over 55 in housing. We are supposed to see 70 a year and to date we have seen 165 and we don’t advertise. The majority of these women are not women who have previously been in the system. We have just recently had an 80-year-old come to us. It is shocking, just shocking.”Extract from our History, co-authored by Sarah Harris and Don Baker.

Watch and listen to Initial Assessment and Intake Officer, Riva, as she talks about what items our team are looking for as the months grow colder to support our clients.

You can assist by dropping in any of the following items to our Haven; Home, Safe offices:

• Coles Myer Vouchers ($20 – $50 in value)
• Two minute noodles and instant soup packs
• SIM cards / phone credit
• Mobile phone chargers
• Public transport cards
• Warm clothing such as new socks, beanies and thermals.

*Please remember – clothing should be in new or very good condition, if you wouldn’t wear it, please don’t give it to us.