Funding to support women’s safety


Hannah Hammoud

The 2024-25 state budget included $110,000 in funding for the Caroline Chisholm Society, which provides specialist services to women and children experiencing homelessness in Melbourne’s west.

Caroline Chisholm Society chief executive Jennifer Weber said the funding will support the work of its specialist practitioner in housing.

“We have had consistent funding for western Melbourne, but it has been up and down for Brimbank-Melton. Because of the rising demand it has meant we were often unable to support women from Brimbank-Melton,” she said.

“We received funding for our service last year, and then on Tuesday [May 7] we received the great news that we will be funded again.”

The Caroline Chisholm Society is a wrap-around community service which works with families to support secure attachment, optimise child outcomes through parenting interventions, prevent and alleviate the impacts of poverty, homelessness, family violence and issues with mental health that have an impact on parent and child wellbeing.

Ms Weber said while the Caroline Chisholm Society does not provide housing itself, it can support women and children who are at risk of homelessness by assisting with identifying housing options, advocacy, and providing support with applications for private, public and social housing along with case management.

“When women present to our specialist practitioner and they have identified a housing and homelessness issue, our specialist practitioner will work with mum and the family to find tangible solutions,” she said.

Ms Weber said pathways to accessing affordable housing are becoming increasingly difficult, as the housing crisis continues to aggravate access.

“The housing crisis has meant we’ve been faced with situations where a pregnant woman is contacting us and is homeless, sleeping in her car, ready to give birth. That’s what we’re dealing with, we have a few women at the moment in that exact situation,” she said.

If you are experiencing homelessness or worried that you might become homeless soon, you can call 1800 825 955 and speak with an initial assessment and planning staff member about your situation. You will be connected to the nearest Homelessness Access Point Service.