It may come as a surprise to learn that 44% of all people experiencing homelessness are female,* also that most homeless services are provided for men and very few for women. Parramatta Mission is working to raise hope for women facing homelessness.
The inaugural Raising Hope Gala was held on 27 June 2014 to launch the project of raising awareness and funds to establish crisis accommodation for women facing homelessness in Western Sydney.
Since the initial gala, we have taken modest steps towards the development and implementation of accommodation and support for women facing homelessness. A foundation has been established to sustain the project over the long term as we work towards our goal of developing pathways for women to transition out of homelessness.
There are multiple reasons and experiences that can lead to a woman facing homelessness, such as family breakdowns, employment challenges, violence or abuse, and the cost of living. Mental health is another common theme present in women facing homelessness, and when paired with the above factors, mental health symptoms can often be exacerbated.
While social housing is a temporary fix for women with complex needs, for many women it can only be seen as that, a temporary fix. A holistic approach toward meeting women’s individual needs is a necessary requirement in reaching a more permanent solution.
Restrictions around implementing a more complete approach for individual women include limits to funding, affordable housing, access to therapeutic interventions and extensive time delays for professional intervention.
These restrictions significantly impact on the healing process that is vital for women to connect with the community and maintain stable tenancies / housing over long periods of time.
Parramatta Mission is doing something about this.