National Homelessness Week August 2-8th 2020
This year ACOSS released the Poverty in Australia 2020 report saying that 3.24 million people in Australia or 13.6 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.
Every day at St Kilda Gatehouse we see and hear stories about the impact poverty and homelessness has on the women and girls we support. Often, women will tell us that their experience of insecure accommodation or homelessness is a result of complex childhood trauma, domestic violence, poverty, mental illness, family and relationship breakdown and addiction.
For Ruby (not her real name) being homeless is “bloody dangerous. There’s no security, no where to think through what I need to do next, no where to feel safe, nowhere to rest.”
“Do you know what it feels like to have to sleep with one eye open in fear?”
“Do you know what it feels like to not know when your next meal will be?”
“Do you know what it feels like to see the dirt under your nails start to infect your fingertips because you can’t find anywhere to wash? I feel embarrassed, ashamed.”
For many women like Ruby the stigma and shame that comes with being homeless is overwhelming and at times debilitating. St Kilda Gatehouse creates spaces of belonging, dignity and hope and helps women connect to housing and health services. We also continue to call for better responses to violence against women and a national strategy to end homelessness that takes into account the drivers of homelessness and ensures that Ruby – everyone – has a safe place to call home.
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