Women’s Community Shelters (WCS) formally launched on 9 November and announced it would be opening two new women’s shelters by Christmas. WCS’ innovative model uses community donations, philanthropy and a small amount of federal government funding to support homeless women and children in NSW. Most refuge services are fully funded by government.
The two new shelters, to be located in the Hills District and Forster Tuncurry, join WCS’ existing shelters in Manly and Hornsby.
At a media briefing in Sydney today, WCS’ co-founders, Peter Hunt AM and Gina Anderson, and its Chief Executive, Annabelle Daniel, will provide an update on progress to date and plans for 2016-2018.
WCS is a not-for-profit organisation set up on a “social franchise” model to provide emergency accommodation for homeless women in NSW, in partnership with local communities.
WCS brings expertise in governance, intellectual property, professional development and project management to communities looking to establish new shelters. With a strong and experienced Board and a highly professional team, WCS is focused on supporting each shelter to develop best practice and achieve positive individual outcomes for the women staying at the shelters, while remaining cost efficient. With two WCS shelters currently in operation in Manly and Hornsby, and another two opening in the Hills District and Forster-Tuncurry later this year, Women’s Community Shelters’ ground-breaking and innovative capacity building model will add more than 20,000 bed-nights per annum to the existing overstretched shelter network and provide communities with a tangible way to create a safe haven for vulnerable women and children.
Ms Daniel said: “WCS has been inundated with requests from communities in NSW and South East Queensland to partner in the establishment of additional new shelters, which are urgently needed to help homeless women and children who may be victims of domestic violence reclaim and rebuild their lives.”
“Existing services cannot meet the demand for crisis accommodation for women who are homeless. More than one-in-two women across Australia who seek a bed in a crisis shelter are turned away every night, mostly due to a lack of space. And these are just the ones who find out they can ask for a safe place to go.”
“With such a great need, WCS is successfully working with communities not just to provide extra support and crisis accommodation but also to educate and empower people to respond to these issues at the local level”. Ms Daniel added.
Established in 2011, to date WCS has helped more than 250 women in New South Wales gain their independence from domestic violence and other crisis situations.