Randwick City Council is proposing to allocate some its affordable housing homes to help local women and children break the cycle of domestic violence, Randwick Mayor Lindsay Shurey announced today.
Under the initiative, a proportion of the Council’s affordable rental housing portfolio will be made available specifically for women and children exiting emergency refuges and into more stable medium-term accommodation.
“I’ve had many discussions with support service providers for domestic violence and one of the challenges they are facing is having to turn women and children away from refuges because they don’t have the space.
“Many refuges are full with women and children who have experienced domestic violence staying for an extended period of time because of the difficulties in securing medium term housing in the private rental market.
“Council currently operates 20 affordable housing homes which are made available to eligible workers at a subsidised rate. If we can allocate some of our suitably located affordable housing homes to women and children exiting out of domestic violence, it will free up refuge space for clients requiring crisis accommodation and related support services,” Mayor Shurey said.
“This is a new approach for local government and I believe a first in the state.”
The initiative follows a Council commitment to provide annual funding for the next five years to fund specialist outreach workers to work three days a week within the Randwick City area.
In Randwick City, between 2016 and 2017, there were 373 reports made to police of women or children suffering at the hands of another person.
“Domestic violence is the greatest social challenge of our time, and I’m proud that we’re providing support for this issue. We have a long way to go, but we’re moving in the right direction.
“It makes good sense to me that, as a compassionate Council, we should identify a proportion of our affordable rental housing homes towards helping this highly vulnerable group of residents.
“The statistics around violence against women and violence in the home suggests that it is vital we as a community continue to talk about domestic violence and ensure that women feel heard, supported and understood,” Mayor Shurey said.
Randwick City Council currently operates 20 affordable housing homes specifically for its essential services workers and is expecting another 10 to be handed over to Council soon. A further 200 could be provided in the coming years as part of Council’s K2K strategy in the Kingsford and Kensington town centres.
Council supported the proposal in principle at its meeting on 27 March 2018 and Council staff are now preparing a report with more details on how the scheme could operate.
If approved, the scheme could commence operating as soon as this year once the affordable rental properties become available.
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