$480m housing spend will help remove biggest barrier for women fleeing violence

19 October 2021– The NSW Government’s $480 million funding injection for women’s violence refuges and long-term community housing will help remove one of the biggest obstacles for women and their children to safely escape family violence, the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW says.

“The rate of homelessness among Australian women is skyrocketing, and domestic violence is a leading cause,” says Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

“There are so many systemic social and economic factors that contribute to this. Women already face an ongoing financial disadvantage, and financial abuse is often present in domestic violence relationships.

“Add a full-blown housing crisis to the mix, where private rents are increasing at breakneck speed and low-income households can’t find a place to live, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

“It’s fantastic to see the NSW Government is tackling this head-on and getting on with the job of building the homes these women need. 75 more refuges and 200 new long-term community housing dwellings will make a big difference.

“Already there are 50,000 families in our state’s social housing queue who will wait an average of five to ten years for a home. Many of them are already victims of domestic violence.

“200 new homes for domestic violence survivors means 200 more women and their children will have the foundation they need to recover and build the life they deserve.”

The 200 new community housing dwellings will be funded through the Community Housing Innovation Fund, which will receive more than $50 million over four years towards new homes earmarked for women who have experienced domestic violence.

“Women experiencing family violence are constantly asked why they don’t leave, or why they didn’t leave earlier, and an answer that always recurs is that they have nowhere else to go,” says Mr Degotardi.

“Non-profit community housing providers have many tenants who have escaped violent relationships and are rebuilding their lives. They can attest that a safe, stable house to make into a home for their children is life-changing.

“Crisis accommodation is crucial, but it’s temporary. Many only allow one-week stays, and there are plenty of women who quickly burn through the refuges in their area and find themselves without options once again.

“We need long-term, low-cost housing that families can actually build their life around.

“The non-profit community housing sector has already given hundreds of women escaping violence the safe home they need. With the government’s support we can do so much more.”

Media contact: Hannah Craft, 0423 377 965