Women seeking more help over homelessness and domestic violence

HELPING HAND: Housing Plus Head of Community Services Penny Dordoy said demand for their services was increasing. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1220jkhousing1
HELPING HAND: Housing Plus Head of Community Services Penny Dordoy said demand for their services was increasing. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1220jkhousing1

The number of women seeking relief from homelessness and domestic violence was increasing at a higher rate than for men in Orange.

Housing Plus Head of Community Services Penny Dordoy said the rate had increased in the past four years.

Ms Dordoy said there had been an increase in the number of older women seeking help after being poorly treated by their own family.

“We are seeing a lot of older women,” she said.

“When a partner dies, the grown-up children feel they have ownership of the property and move in.”

This could lead to the women being forced out of their homes, having money taken from them and being poorly treated.

Ms Dordoy was commenting on a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW] into homelessness in NSW released this week.

She said the increasing requests for help were occurring at the same rate in Orange as for NSW.

Ms Dordoy said 40 per cent of people seeking help had experienced domestic violence which was slightly higher than last year.

The report found that 94 per cent of people experiencing domestic and family violence were women and children.

Ms Dordoy said calls for help from men and women at risk of homelessness in Orange was exceeding their funding.

“The number of people seeking housing support has increased for us,” she said.

“In the last year we saw 900 people, which is twice as much as we’re funded to provide. We are funded for 438 people.”

Ms Dordoy said Housing Plus had reached a key stage for Orange’s long-awaited 24-hour crisis centre for domestic violence victims.

“We’ve got all the plans,” she said.

They have raised $1.1 million of the $1.7 million needed and were seeking funding from Orange City Council after the project was made a priority.

“We’re waiting to hear back from the council,” she said.

The AIHW report called for urgent action to provide more accommodation for homeless people in NSW.

Homelessness NSW chief executive officer Katherine McKernan said homelessness services were supporting 30 per cent more clients than they were funded for.

“Homelessness will continue to rise unless governments urgently invest in the social housing system,” she said.

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