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Emergency accommodation to support women and children in Lake Macquarie

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Housing Plus and Jenny’s Place are delighted to announce their partnership to construct and operate emergency accommodation and support services for women and children escaping domestic violence in the Lake Macquarie community.

The Core and Cluster Sector Capacity Building Grants program supports the construction of new accommodation specifically designed for women and children escaping domestic violence. The Lake Macquarie based refuge will be designed in the new Core and Cluster model, an innovative approach that provides women accessing the service with independent accommodation and access to critical services such as counselling, legal assistance, and further education on site.

This independent living model is a considerable improvement to the communal refuge accommodation that has been standard in crisis care for many decades and better meets the needs of individual families, providing women and children leaving violence the best opportunity for trauma recovery.

Under this partnership Housing Plus will construct and manage the property, with the accommodation and services being delivered by Jenny’s Place who have operated in the Newcastle region for 46 years and who are widely recognised as experts in the delivery of specialist domestic violence and homelessness services.

Justin Cantelo, CEO of Housing Plus says “It was important that regional communities benefited from the Government’s funding for domestic and family violence accommodation. Our partnership with Jenny’s Place combines our knowledge and expertise of design and construction with their local experience in service delivery. The best of both is what we hope will be provided in Lake Macquarie.”

Marcia Chapman, Executive Manager of Jenny’s Place says the region is in desperate need of additional crisis accommodation. “We know that many women are trapped in violent relationships simply because there is nowhere else to live and this challenge is heightened for women with children. With community housing and the local private rental market now stretched to capacity, the Core and Cluster grants program will help services address the crisis housing issue and importantly, elevate the standard of accommodation provided to women leaving violence”. 

“We acknowledge also the generous contributions made by local organisations that supported our joint grant application, particularly the McCloy Group who generously donated the large parcel of land needed for a project of this scale and Wests Knights Foundation for their support funding.”

This news follows initial funding announcement in October 2021, in which the NSW Government announced an historic investment of $484.3 million, for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV) – the single biggest investment in addressing DFV in the State’s history.

The Core and Cluster Sector Capacity Building Grants program will provide $426.6 million over four years to build new Core and Cluster accommodation facilities across NSW. Once all three funding rounds are completed, and refuges are operational, more than an additional 2,900 women and children escaping DFV will be supported each year.

Accommodation provided will mean women and children impacted by domestic and family violence will be provided with a safe and supported environment to recover. This environment starts with safe, trauma-informed physical design and is complemented by a service delivery model that provides intensive support when it is needed most and a lighter touch when recovery begins. Support will be personalised and brought into the refuge.  As victims recover, they will have a base to return to and continue to receive education and support.

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