Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Children and Families Nominee
Program - Women and Children's Services at Coast Shelter
Please give your reasons for nominating this program.
Coast Shelter is a major provider of crisis accommodation for homeless women and women with accompanying children on the Central Coast of NSW and is therefore well positioned to provide a comprehensive and practical response to victims of domestic and family violence.
To provide a coordinated and practical response to domestic and family violence, Coast Shelter has established a charitable foundation funded by the local community and has adopted the inspirational goal of “ending domestic and family violence on the Central Coast”.
Coast Shelter identified a significant gap in service delivery for women and their children escaping domestic and family violence and who were accommodated in Temporary Accommodation. The Rondeley Program now provides practical, emotional and moral support to women and their children in Temporary Accommodation through effective outreach, advocacy and referrals.
Rondeley’s robust outreach component allows frontline workers to meet with clients at a venue and at a time that suits, constructing a case plan together and providing appropriate support which includes safety planning, assistance with primary health care and accessing medical treatment, meeting presenting needs of children, advocating to Government and NGO’s, applying for Start Safely, counselling and payments through Victims Services, crisis and payments and other entitlements. Clients are also assisted where needed with fuel vouchers, food hampers, toiletries and other personal items.
The Rondeley program is only very short term and client’s engage with the Rondeley staff to obtain permanent accommodation within 28 days. In cases where this is not possible due to the lack of affordable housing or further support is required, clients are referred to any one of our other three women and children’s programs Kara, Elandra and Neleh where trauma informed staff can provide for longer term case management, care, advocacy and support.
In summary, the three women and children’s refuges, the Love Bites, Love Bites Junior programs and the Temporary Accommodation Rondeley Program work in an integrated manner providing an educational, preventative and responsive program in an attempt to address the scourge of domestic violence.
Last year we saw over 100 women from a wide range of our first nations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who come into our Programs often have been subjected to abuse and violence for many years. We work closely with our specialist Aboriginal agencies and others to ensure we provide culturally sensitive care and parenting suppport.
What outcomes were delivered as a result of this program?
The diversity of the clients our Women and Children's Programs are providing support for continues to expand.
Mary was referred to our Program from Northern Settlement Services escaping domestic violence from her husband for four years.
Last year we saw an increase of 22% on the previous year of families from ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse communities.
Mary struggled with English which made communication harder for her. She also wasn't a permanent citizen, had no income and on-going health issues. With the help of Coast Shelter, Mary obtained citizenship, had an operation to rectify her health issues and gained an income. She also successfully secured permanent housing through Pacific Link Housing.
Coast Shelter is proud to have achieved some outstanding results for women and their children across the Central Coast. A large number of clients secured private rentals which is an incredible result considering the lack of affordable housing here on the Central Coast.
Coast Shelter is instrumental in education and primary prevention campaigns and we are actively involved in conversations challenging gender inequality as we aim to increase our profile in this area.
Coast Shelter have worked with us here are Pacific Link Housing for 25 years. We have an established MOU which provides both our services with the certainty that we are working towards the same goals for our clients. Specifically we work closely with Coast Shelter’s women and children’s refuges Kara, Neleh, Elandra and Rondeley alongside the Domestic Violence Response Team. This partnership, has meant that Coast Shelter has housed countless women and children through our Transitional Tenancy program, out of often violent and unstable homes into stable home environments where families can thrive.
Tenants go from Coast Shelter as an emergency first port of call, into transitional properties with Pacific Link. The seamless processes means that we can settle families sooner, and allow women and children to heal from trauma whilst the burden of housing is off their shoulders. At Pacific Link, we manage the tenancies, and Coast Shelter provides the support services needed for our tenants to sustain their tenancy and move forward into permanent homes.
One current tenant for example, thanks to the tireless work of Coast Shelter and our Partnership, has a safe home where she and her children are protected, and she has even been able to move forward with her career and build her independence. We are proud to support Coast Shelter for this award, as we believe them to be very deserving for their successes supporting the women and children of the Central Coast.