Dear friends of St Kilda Gatehouse

2020 is a year ‘like no other’. The summer fires in Australia ravaged our landscape destroying lives and communities. The rapid devastating spread, and impact of COVID-19 has left the world grieving, in shock and now trying to find ways to heal and rebuild.

We are all affected. We have seen people at their worst and people at their best.

In April, St Kilda Gatehouse put out a call for help and we experienced people at their best. Generous donations of food, toiletries, hampers, bedding, money from friends, businesses and Government were provided. During this difficult and uncertain time St Kilda Gatehouse has remained open to provide critical support and a place to belong for some of the most disadvantaged women in our community. For your generosity, we say thank you. The women we support say thank you.

For women such as Julie (Jules), St Kilda Gatehouse represents more than much needed material aid and support – it provides a place she says is ‘like coming home.’ Jules accesses the Drop In regularly and has been homeless for the past two years. Her childhood was one of family violence and poverty. Her parents introduced her to drugs and alcohol at the age of eleven. At fifteen Jules was forced into sex work to pay for her parent’s addiction. Jules often says that as a teenager she had ‘nowhere to belong’ or go for support. Jules is smart and creative and dreams of one day studying politics.

With your support Jules can have a warm shower, wash the few clothes she owns, use the computer to keep in touch with friends and family. She can have a meal, chat with staff, and set up appointments with housing and health professionals. She can even volunteer at our Op Shop, be part of the local community and build confidence, skills and connections. Each time Jules pops in she is greeted with kindness, the essential items she needs and a place where she feels she belongs. I wish you could see the look on Jules’ face when she leaves the drop in with a bag full of food and a heart restored by hope. 

As the end of financial year approaches, there are hundreds of charities and good causes in need of support. Like many organisations St Kilda Gatehouse faces significant challenges in securing ongoing funding. For women like Jules your continued support helps create safe spaces of belonging, respect, and connection. 

Thank you for your partnership with St Kilda Gatehouse. Or as Jules recently said to me, “I’m so grateful St Kilda Gatehouse is here. I’d be lost without you.” 

Stacey Aslangul