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ANMF-supported housing for at-risk women and children closer to completion

ANMF-supported housing for at-risk women and children closer to completion

Launch Housing design for Dandenong building

A Dandenong building which will be able to provide stable, safe housing for 60 at-risk women and up to 200 children is moving closer to becoming reality, thanks to ANMF (Vic Branch) members.

Half of an ANMF (Vic Branch) $ 7 million over two financial years contribution to Launch Housing has been allocated to building the Dandenong Families Supportive Housing (FSH) project, which is now in the design phase. Launch Housing anticipates the FSH building will be finished and ready for families in 2023.

Launch Housing is collaborating with Uniting Care Australia to create the medium-high rise building, which will contain 60 apartments for women and their children, with nurses and midwives given priority. The building will offer access to affordable childcare, have a 24-hour concierge for safety and security, and rent set at a maximum of 30 per cent of income.

Tenants will have a full range of culturally appropriate, responsive support services readily available that cover parenting, education, health and wellbeing and employment, family counselling and trauma care.

The flexible design of the $31m Dandenong development will allow for different-sized families to inhabit the apartments, which will be a mix of studios and two to four-bedroom apartments.

ANMF (Vic Branch) contributed funding to Launch Housing because homelessness is on the rise, particularly for women and children escaping family violence. In Victoria in 2017–18, 90 per cent of people seeking support from homelessness agencies were women with children.

A pioneering University of Melbourne study of the prevalence of partner and family violence against female health professionals, including nurses and midwives, found that 45 per cent had experienced violence from a partner or family member in their lifetime. One in nine had experienced partner violence in the past year.

The research was conducted in a large Australian tertiary maternity hospital with 471 female nurses, midwives, doctors and allied health professionals responding to a survey. Nearly 70 per cent were nurses and midwives.

Female health professionals’ experience of partner and family violence was higher than in the general population.

ANMF (Vic Branch) is supporting lead researcher Elizabeth McLindon to expand her research into the experience of family violence among nurses, midwives and personal care workers. Thousands of ANMF (Vic Branch) members have responded to a ‘Health, wellbeing and relationships’ survey, which includes questions about their experience of violence. The survey is now closed.

Launch Housing is still exploring options for the use of the remainder of  ANMF (Vic Branch) members’ contribution, including housing for single older women, the fastest-growing homeless cohort.