The possible closure of women’s specialist services under the government’s homelessness reforms will leave thousands of women in Sydney stranded and without critical support, Greens MP Jamie Parker and Greens Councillor for Sydney, Irene Doutney, have warned.
Mr Parker and Ms Doutney were part of a NSW parliamentary forum today which discussed the closure of women’s refuges and women’s specialist services under the government’s Going Home Staying Home reforms.
These plans enforce a tendering process that prevents community service organisations from applying for funding on the basis of offering gender-specialised services. They will also strip at least $6 million in inner city funds which will be distributed to suburbs and regional areas.
Mr Parker said:
“Some 2,000 women and girls in Sydney currently use women-only specialist services because they provide safe spaces, especially for those fleeing domestic violence and child sexual abuse.
“These women and children would be left stranded by the closure of these services and refuges, and the government urgently needs to reassess its homelessness funding plans before it’s too late.
“Allowing the government to ignore the expertise of specialised provision destroys the successful legacy of campaigns won four decades ago for women-only safe spaces, and puts vulnerable women and their children at risk.”
Ms Doutney said:
“A lot of women are invisible homeless. They are not counted in homelessness figures and end up in temporary or unsuitable accommodation, or staying in dangerous relationships so they can keep a roof over children’s heads.
“People will always come to the city to escape from their domestic problems. They come because it’s anonymous and they feel safe, so it’s vital that we maintain services in the city for the most vulnerable, who are women and children.
“We have a very large population of homeless people, people in public housing, and the disadvantaged in the city of Sydney. Moving huge amounts of money from the city won’t solve these problems.”
More: Lesa de Leau on 9660 7586 or 0413 581 603