Many factors contribute to homelessness, such as lack of affordable housing, financial issues, family violence, relationship breakdown, and loss of employment. In Tasmania statistics show that the most common reason for people seeking help with accommodation is the lack of affordable housing.
Homelessness in Tasmania can be invisible. Ninety per cent of those experiencing homelessness are either couch surfing or sleeping in overcrowded accommodation. The main reason families need to access Magnolia Place LWS is because they are escaping partner violence. A house isn’t a home when it isn’t a safe place to be. Family violence is one of the hidden causes of homelessness.
It is very costly for people who rent to continually move because of lease expiration, unaffordable rent, or through other circumstances. This situation, combined with a low income, can create an increased financial hardship. On top of the usual household costs, the cost of removals, as well as paying rent and bond in advance, is often an impossibility. This can mean a huge demand for crisis accommodation. There are countless misconceptions and stigma associated with homelessness, including the reasons why a person might be in that situation.
A survey was distributed to women in the Shelter asking how it made them feel to be experiencing homelessness. The answers were honest and heartfelt:
- “Abandoned, lost, broken-hearted, have nothing. Can’t climb the ladder…too far down”
- “Judged, vulnerable, isolated, insignificant and no sense of belonging”
- “Stressed, helpless, unsafe in ways, unable to provide properly for my family, sad and ashamed”
- “Insecure, anxious, no sense of belonging, an emotional train wreck. Children feel the same”
- “Worried, especially about my children”
- “Terrible and useless”
No one in this “lucky country” of Australia should be in a situation that makes them feel as despondent as the answers above. It could happen to any one of us! We all have a right to a warm, safe, affordable home.
Magnolia Place LWS currently has 14 short term units supporting women and children temporarily until they find longer-term accommodation. It is often difficult for families to move on from the shelter in a short time frame because of a lack of affordable exit points. Magnolia Place LWS works within the Department of Communities Housing Connect system, where many services work collaboratively to support people experiencing homelessness. In 2021 Magnolia Place LWS property folio will be expanding with up to 15 new properties to be built through the State Government’s Affordable Housing Action Plan.This is supported by a “Safe Places Emergency Accommodation” grant from the Federal Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.
Please give a thought to the many vulnerable people in our community who don’t have a place to call home. Think about what you may be able to do to support them. They too have a right to a safe, affordable home with the security of tenure.
Magnolia Place LWS is funded by the Crown through the Department of Communities Tasmania.