Would you open your home to a person who was homeless due to domestic violence?
Denise Hunter, is enabling generous homeowners to give back to their community by setting up a national register of householders who can provide short-term accommodation to women and children escaping violence.
Safe Haven is trying to fill the gap between the short-term housing needed and the housing that is currently available for women and children at risk of family violence.
According to Homelessness Australia, 423 people are turned away from homelessness services every day.
While additional funding has been directed to domestic violence housing and support initiatives – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the $100 million Women’s Safety Package in 2015 – the sector remains critically underfunded.
Hunter believes the shared housing register will give people a third option when looking at short-term accommodation and can provide additional benefits to that of a motel or refuge.
“Private homes can be more nurturing and more humane and we can still link them to support networks,” says Safe Haven Founder, Denise Hunter.
“We’re hoping that this model will also lead to people getting good rental references from the Safe Haven community and the provider, which will help them go that next step to getting their own rental.”
Between 2011 and 2014, around 187,000 people accessed homelessness services due to family violence, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, making up 36 % of the total demand for homelessness services.
Hunter believes it is no longer a government issue – it’s a community one.
“We used to pop over the fence to have a chat and know our neighbours. We don’t do that anymore and I think people feel disconnected. A lot of our providers say they’ve wanted to help and now it’s easy because all they have to do is donate a spare room.”
How does Safe Haven work?
Safe Haven takes the safety of its guests and accommodation providers very seriously.
All guests are assessed by a fully trained professional to understand their personal situation and support requirements during their stay, and registered accommodation providers are vetted and must undergo an ID and police check.
“While there is a lot of work going on in the background, for guests it’s as simple as “you want a room, we will connect you with a room,” says Hunter.
And for providers? Hunter encourages homeowners to apply on the Safe Haven website.
“We will ask you a few questions like how long can you host for, do you have a gender bias, will you also house children and take pets,” says Hunter. “This information is then stored in our database until we match you with a guest.”
For assistance in finding or registering a room,
call 18 000 HAVEN (1800 042 836)
Australia has a critical shortage of suitable and available accommodation for people at risk of domestic abuse or homelessness…
We need your support
We urgently need community support to grow this business
We need to raise $200k to get this business up and running. Your donation will help us to provide 10,000 nights of safe, nurturing accommodation every year to people that desperately need a safe place to breathe.
As a community, we are responsible for making this happen
We need spare rooms
Provide a Safe Haven in your home. Be one of the first 500 Safe Haven Community Accommodation Providers across Australia.
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