More safe places for women, kids fleeing home violence
Women and children who have fled violent homes with not much more than the clothes on their backs will soon have access to more emergency housing thanks to a multimillion-dollar funding boost.
Assistant Community Housing Minister Luke Howarth announced the $2.6 million funding for Coast2Bay Housing Group on Wednesday with federal MPs Ted O'Brien and Andrew Fisher.
Mr O'Brien said the funding would allow Coast2Bay to purchase and construct eight new dwellings, with a mix of three and two-bedroom homes, providing safe spaces for about 48 women and children each year.
"We need to do everything we can on this issue and we need to make sure those people who are vulnerable are housed," he said.
Coast2Bay Housing Group is an independent, not-for-profit which provides affordable, safe homes to individuals and families on the Coast, as well as in Moreton Bay, Redcliffe and Gympie.
Chief operating officer Lee Banfield said by partnering with Zonta and the Salvation Army, Coast2Bay's model helped vulnerable families heal and reconnect to the community.
"When the families come to us, they have often escaped with their suitcases and not much else," she said.
"One of the beauties of the partnership with Zonta is that they have the houses furnished, they have books for the kids, they have toys for the children, there's bedding and then that becomes theirs."
According to police, officers can be called to anywhere from five to 20 domestic violence incidents across the Coast in a 24-hour period.
Queensland Police statistics show there were 1364 breaches of domestic violence order offences in the Sunshine Coast Police District from October 2019 to July this year.
Mr Wallace said the community had to focus on preventing domestic violence from happening in the first place, as well as helping victims and children escape to emergency housing.
"Every nine days a woman is being killed by her partner or her ex-partner," he said.
"Domestic and family violence is just an insidious disease … and it is costing our community so much, not just in dollars but in the lives of everyday Australians."
Mr Howarth said one of the leading causes of homelessness was women and children escaping home violence, and while governments were working to find solutions, the community also had a responsibility to keep each other safe.
The $60 million Safe Places Emergency Accommodation program is part of the $78 million funding package.
Wednesday's announcement came after the Daily launched the HerStory campaign, which highlighted the desperate need for more emergency housing.
Sunny Kids general manager Kathleen Hope welcomed the federal funding, and said it was the first step in addressing the growing need for safety and security for women and children exposed to home violence.
"The largely complex nature and generational impacts on families can only be effectively supported once basic needs are met such as housing and essential items like food and clothing," Ms Hope said.
"Our community will be one step closer to interrupting the cycle of abuse for many with the solid foundation of emergency accommodation to work from.
"It is great to see the federal government not only listening to the issues in our community but taking further action to alleviate the trauma for many. I hope this step is the beginning of many more to come."