A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Organisation - Nova for Women and Children

Excellence in Ending Homelessness - Children and Families Nominee

Organisation - Nova for Women and Children

Please give your reasons for nominating this organisation.

This organization has been assisting women and children in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and/or experiencing domestic violence for over twenty years. It has been operating under its current name, Nova for Women and Children, for the past four years.In 2017 Nova opened its own Temporary Accommodation site at New Lambton. This site is a converted former convent owned by the Catholic Diocese and now leased to Nova. The property required extensive renovation and Nova turned to the local community for help. We received a huge amount of support and encouragement and it was important to have a name that held a strong meaning in Newcastle. Trisha House is named after a woman who was tragically murdered by her ex-partner. Local news reported on the opening of Trisha House, including the Newcastle Herald and NBN News and it was attended by several local Members of Parliament including Sharon Claydon MP and Sonja Hornery MP. Nova applied to be a TA vendor while awaiting the Expressions Of Interest’s for Supported Temporary Accommodation which we are now in the process of tendering for. At Trisha House and at the other three Nova sites our workers work quickly with women and their children to make them safe and help them identify affordable private rentals, social housing or other suitable long-term housing through rapid response or longer term case management. We will work with other agencies and link women and children to appropriate supports. Nova also offers post crisis support to enable women to sustain their new tenancies. In January 2018 Nova was awarded the Australia Day Community Group of the Year for Newcastle City for its excellence in practice and innovation.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this organisation?

Last financial year, 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, Nova assisted 1216 clients with 820 of them being in the Newcastle West area. Of this 820, 12 clients were provided with crisis accommodation via Nova brokerage funds, 106 clients received medium term accommodation and all the others received either a rapid response, crisis accommodation or case managed outreach service. Nova also provides a 24/7 After Hours Domestic Violence Response in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens which, in 2017, assisted over 50 women to flee violence as it was occurring or just afterwards. Nova works with local hotels and FaCS Housing to assist these women and children into safe hotels until they can be triaged and referred to appropriate safe accommodation the next day.

Reference statement:

Sharon Claydon MP​

I am delighted to act as a referee for Nova for Women and Children to receive the Specialist Homelessness Services Sector Good Practice Award for Excellence in Ending Homelessness for Children and Families.

I have worked with Nova for many years and have always found them to be highly professional. Nova is a fantastic community based organisation. They offer a range of specialised support services for women and children who are experiencing, or are at risk of, homelessness in the Newcastle region. They provide a safe and welcoming environment during periods of extreme distress.

I offer my strong support for Nova for Women and Children to receive this award and would be happy to discuss their nomination.

Reuben Hart
Office of Sharon Claydon MP – Federal Member for Newcastle