Safe option for Valley families

AN employee of Latrobe Valley’s primary family violence support service says the provision of more housing options for women and children escaping family violence is significant.

Community Housing Limited has announced an extra 18 properties will become available in the region by the end of the year, as part of the State Government’s $50 million Rapid Housing Assistance Fund.

Quantum Support Services general manager of children, youth and families Cindy Pullar said the additional housing would provide more options locally.

“There tends to be (a thinking) you need to leave the region or there could be a shortage of options for children,” Ms Pullar said.

“If we didn’t have an option; the refuge was full and we didn’t have many options available but wanted to support someone, currently we would maybe consider a motel.

“That’s not ideal if you’ve got children – this gives you another option outside of motels.”

CHL’s grant includes the purchase of 12 new properties and six head lease private rentals that will be close to public transport and schools.

Ms Pullar said the additional housing would allow women and their children to stay connected with the support networks they already knew.

“If we’re putting (a woman) away from family, away from friends, it throws you out of your comfort zone and heightens the vulnerability and the situation you’re in,” she said.

“It’s hard to support your children through that process when you’re taking them away from their network, education, friends and family and potentially their sporting or community group.”

CHL has partnered with Quantum to provide support and individualised help to the tenants.

For the last financial year, Quantum provided case management support to 473 women in Gippsland in relation to family violence.

However, not all women required housing or emergency accommodation.

“The support required was on a much broader level,” Ms Pullar said.

“Housing is but one area of support, and in relation to the Rapid Housing initiative, it is an area that is being greatly received by the sector in Gippsland working in the family violence arena.”

Ms Pullar said the partnership would provide both women and their children some level of consistency and routine in their life.

The $50 million fund follows the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations, which called for an immediate increase in crisis and emergency accommodation options.

Ms Pullar said this partnership demonstrated the organisations were coming together to benefit the vulnerable women and children who accessed their services.

“Women and children experiencing family violence need the support of a community around them,” Ms Pullar said.

“Where we can reduce the significant upheaval and impacts for them will go a long way in supporting their future felt and lived experience of safety.”