Mission Australia’s regional leader for Southern NSW Cheryl O’Donnell is helping put the final touches to the fully renovated women’s refuge in Bega ahead of its reopening next week.THE Bega Women’s Refuge is set to reopen on Monday, in time for the Christmas period – well known as a time of increased stress and potential for family violence.
The refuge has been closed since late July, when Mission Australia took over its operation as part of its tender win for Specialist Homelessness Services in the South East.
Many in the community have expressed disappointment at the change of management and anger at perceived failings of the NSW Government’s Going Home, Staying Home (GHSH) tender process.
However, Mission said it has continued to provide assistance to women and families while major repairs and renovation work was carried out on the Bega refuge.
Finishing touches are still being made, but Mission Australia’s regional leader for Southern NSW, Cheryl O’Donnell, said they are mainly cosmetic and the service will be able to house clients fleeing domestic violence from Monday.
“We weren’t prepared to put anyone in here with the safety concerns we had,”
“But I absolutely love it now.
“When women arrive it will feel like a home and that they have made the right decision.”
The refuge now sports a brand new kitchen, new bathrooms, light and fresh paint throughout as well as colourful canvas paintings and decoration to make it inviting as a place of refuge.
Donations of blankets, teddy bears for children and “a huge stockpile of soaps and so on” are also available for those who seek shelter.
There is also new high fencing and a sprinkler system for added safety and security of clients.
Ms O’Donnell said it was great to have the Bega refuge open in time for Christmas, but pointed out it was only one small component of the services Mission is now providing under the GHSH reforms.
She said Mission’s team of case workers was already working with 80 clients “doing everything possible” to assist them.
Even during the period of the refuge’s closure, she said 24 women have been permanently housed – eight in the last week-and-a-half.
Refuge to provide integrated support,Andrew Constance saysTHE Bega’s Women’s Refuge is set to reopen before Christmas, following major repairs and renovations to ensure the provision of safe and secure accommodation and services for vulnerable women and children in the region
Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the women’s refuge service, now delivered by Mission Australia under theGoing Home Staying Home(GHSH) reforms, will provide integrated support services for women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“The NSW Government, under the GHSH reforms, has funded a suite of specialist homelessness services in the Bega region delivered by Mission Australia, including the women’s refuge,” Mr Constance said.
“This will be tailored to the special needs of vulnerable women and children who need support and accommodation to break the cycle of homelessness for good.
“This is a great result that will lead to the delivery of more and better homelessness services across the Bega Valley.
“The NSW Government is delivering on its promise to protect the vulnerable.
“We are delivering on our promise to protect and maintain services in the Bega Valley.”
Mission Australia regional leader for Southern NSW Cheryl O’Donnell said the refuge will now form a major part of the community’s response to assisting women and children escaping domestic and family violence.
“Since we transitioned to this service in August, our local team has worked hard to ensure that women and their children escaping domestic violence continue to be supported while the necessary repairs were undertaken at the refuge,” Ms O’Donnell said.
“We have been able to source alternative temporary and permanent accommodation for women and children in need, and as well as assisting them with counselling and case management.
“During the time that these repairs have been undertaken, we have assisted 24 families and individuals in the region into permanent housing.
“We are pleased that we are now able to commence full operations at the refuge as well.
“Our dedicated and experienced staff will be working over the Christmas period to ensure that members of the community are assisted over this critical time, and support services continue to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This refuge will form a vital part of our suite of services assisting members of the community.
“Our suite of services will assist 200 men, women and families a year, including early intervention services to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place, and tailored integrated support for people experiencing homelessness.”
Southern NSW District received $5million per annum for three years for specialist homelessness services under theGoing Home Staying Homereforms.
“This represents an increase of over two per cent on last year, which has enabled 12 new services to support over 1980 clients in the district who are homeless or at risk of homelessness,” Mr Constance said.
Family and Community Services district director for Southern NSW Jill Herberte said the new services will achieve a better balance of prevention, early intervention and crisis support in the district, with a specific focus on helping those who are at risk of becoming homeless.
“Women who are escaping family and domestic violence or who are at risk of homelessness need to be reassured that there is even more help available for them in Southern NSW than ever before,” said Ms Herberte.
Across the state, over half a billion dollars will be provided over three years for non-government organisations to deliver homelessness services to improve the lives of 54,000 people a year.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.