Media Release – McAuley Community Services for Women
HOMELESS POLICY REVIEW SHELVING IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
McAuley Community Services for Women today slammed the announcement that the Federal Government’s policy review into homelessness had been shelved.
“The numbers of people who are homeless are growing all the time and we need assurance now about future funding for vital services,” said Jocelyn Bignold, CEO of McAuley Community Services for Women.
“We are talking about people’s lives. We know women are returning to unsafe homes because there is nowhere else for them to go,” she said.
“Each month women leave our safe house – Victoria’s only 24/7 crisis accommodation – and the majority are homeless: they don’t return home instead they go to families and friends to couch surf, live in cars, go to other refuges and – if they are lucky – into transitional housing.”
Ms Bignold said that a commitment to “a considered, methodical and measured approach to addressing the complex issue of homelessness” was shorthand for ducking the issue.
“We are launching our Victorian election campaign on Thursday asking electoral candidates to make public their policies on homelessness, public housing, family violence and mental health ahead of the election on 29 November.
“Today I ask the Federal Government what its policies are, what its commitment is because at the moment homelessness does appear to be the safer option for women and children.”
McAuley Community Services for Women will place up to 600 teddy bears on the steps of Parliament House this Thursday at 11am.
Each teddy bear symbolises a woman that McAuley Community Services for Women has supported over the past year through its family violence and homelessness programs.
“Once they leave our safe house and refuge program, many do not return home because to do so is unsafe, there is not enough secure and affordable housing and funding for homelessness programs is skewed towards men which is often not appropriate for women.”
Homelessness should never be the safer option says CEO Jocelyn Bignold but for too many women it is.
She will call on all Victorian electoral candidates and parties to make public their policies on homelessness, public housing, family violence and mental health ahead of the election on 29 November.
“Teddy bears are a symbol of safety, security and home: we have deliberately chosen them to highlight what is too often missing for women who take the brave first step to leave home often because of family violence,” Ms Bignold says.
She will also launch a five point plan that McAuley Community Services for Women says is essential to meet the specific needs of women, with or without children, who are homeless.
Media inquiries: Penny Underwood on (03) 9818 8540.