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Govt confirms additional crisis housing for domestic violence survivors

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The Government has approved 19 projects to build, renovate, and buy crisis homes for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
720 crisis homes announced for domestic violence survivors.

The Federal Government has announced 720 crisis accommodation services will be opened over the next three years for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

A group of projects will focus on building or buying accommodation for minority groups, including First Nations and culturally diverse communities, as well as women and children with disabilities.

It follows calls for urgent investment in crisis accommodation after increased rates of gender-based violence and deaths.

New homes

The Government has announced grants for 19 projects have been approved to build more temporary housing.

The grants were awarded to not-for-profit organisations dedicated to building, renovating, and buying properties that can be turned into crisis accommodation.

The program will be paid for with funding set aside in October 2022, when the Government announced plans to spend $100 million over five years on emergency housing.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the projects will provide 720 “safe places“ for women and children across Australia to take shelter when they escape gendered violence.

Rishworth emphasised the need to build more “accessible and inclusive” temporary housing, after learning “some women with disability had been turned away because accommodation wasn’t appropriate”.

She added the projects will focus on access and support for culturally diverse women, who the Minister said face “unique challenges and barriers to accessing support.”

Domestic violence

The Government has come under pressure to increase its response to multiple recent deaths allegedly linked to domestic violence.

Over the weekend, three children died in a house fire in western Sydney. Their father, a 28-year-old man, has been accused of lighting the fire, and blocking emergency crews from accessing the property.

A day later, a 21-year-old woman was stabbed to death in western Sydney. A man has since been charged with her murder.

Response

CEO of Women’s Community Shelters Annabelle Daniel said the new emergency accommodation is expected to be completed and operational by 2027.

She said Australia needs an extra 25,000 homes, at a minimum, to house women and children leaving violence every year.

“We also need to make sure we are making use of existing, under-utilised properties that might be lying vacant and are in the planning cycle, so we can provide more support in the interim.”

Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie told Channel 9: “We needed this a year ago”.

“We need these services on the ground in our suburbs and regional centres now to assist in that moment of need, so many are tragically falling through the gaps.”

Greens Senator Larissa Waters said while the accommodation is “welcome and desperately needed”, the announcement is a “drop in a very large ocean of need”.

“They won’t provide anyone safety until 2027,” she said.

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