From homelessness to hope

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Mahlee* was a young mum who left a violent relationship with nothing but the clothes on her back and her child.

YWCA Australia found Mahlee a safe and secure house. The not-for-profit women’s specialist organisation also gave Mahlee and her child clothing, bedding, and furniture to help make a home.

Michelle Phillips, CEO of YWCA, said the number one reason women turned to specialist homelessness services was family and domestic violence.

“Home is not a safe place for everyone,” she said.

“With our support, Mahlee accessed social security, enrolled her child into childcare, started studying and rebuilt her life,” Michelle said.

 

A challenging season

The holiday season can be a particularly dangerous time, and January is YWCA’s busiest month.

“We know Christmas can mean extra stressors and pressures which can intensify existing patterns of violence and control in relationships.

Services like YWCA are particularly busy in January finding homes for women and children.

“Kids are off school, there are extra costs and financial pressures, increased consumption of alcohol and tension as families come together,” Michelle said.

She added the holiday season “can also be a time where perpetrators increase their control by isolating partners from family and friends, even as the invitations start to flood in”.

Each year YWCA provides over 145,000 nights of accommodation.

“Demand for our services has never been greater, particularly from single older women and women with children escaping domestic and family violence,” Michelle said.

 

Giving hope

YWCA is one of ten charities that the NAB Foundation provided donations to this holiday season.  The Foundation donated a total of $100,000 to the following organisations to help share the feeling of hope with people experiencing homelessness:

1.       Sacred Heart

2.       Anglicare WA

3.       Brisbane Youth Services

4.       YWCA Australia

5.       Launch Housing

6.       Melbourne City Mission

7.       Aboriginal Women and Children’s Crisis Service (formerly Marrickville Women’s Refuge)

8.       Women’s Community Shelter

9.       Hobart City Mission

10.   YWCA Canberra

 

More than money

NAB skilled volunteers have also helped support YWCA, which is a NAB customer, in recent months.

For three months over September to November, a group of NAB bankers consulted with the YWCA Board and Executive Management to help the organisation set its five-year strategy and determine YWCA’s future business operating model.

NAB banker Sandeep Das said he hadn’t realised that his banking skills could be used to help not-for-profit organisations in such an impactful way, until he worked with YWCA.

“It sparked a fire inside of me. If other opportunities come up, I’ll be taking them. It’s really good, meaningful work,” he said.

Joy Leet, a NAB specialised finance director who was part of the team said the reaction from YWCA made all the difference.

“We all came together and supported a client with a purpose to create social change.  The YWCA Board was so appreciative and that meant a lot to us,” she said.

Michelle said the work of the NAB skilled volunteers was invaluable. “Because of the care and diligence of volunteers, we have made a well-informed choice for the future,” she said.

If you would like to donate to YWCA this Christmas, please visit: https://ywca-brokerage-appeal.raisely.com/ 

If you are experiencing domestic and family violence:

In an emergency call triple zero – 000   

For help and support, call:   

·       1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732   

·       Lifeline Australia 13 11 14   

·       MensLine Australia 1300 789 978  

·       Beyond Blue 1300 224 636   

For information on how NAB supports customers affected by domestic and family violence visit here.

Feature image above: Stock image supplied.

*Mahlee’s name is changed in this article for privacy reasons.

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