Safe haven for women

The new safe house for women and children escaping from family violence in Casey. Picture: Supplied

The Victorian Homeless Fund has delivered a new family house in Casey for a woman and her children who have recently escaped family violence.

Built by volunteer trades and suppliers around Melbourne, the latest family home is one of many that the organisation has helped to build or renovate over its 30-year history.

The organisation seeks land and works closely with the builders to deliver homes for social housing; in particular, for women and children escaping domestic violence. Once complete, the houses will be managed by a not-for-profit organization.

In 2021, it secured a long-term lease on a block of land owned by Homes Victoria, and local builder Hermitage Building Group (HBG) answered the call and commenced construction of a four-bedroom family home. HBG also raised considerable funds for the project.

“In the City of Casey, homelessness isn’t just a crisis; it’s a stark reality that many face daily. The statistics aren’t just numbers — they represent real people struggling for a place to call home. Our efforts to combat this are not just about building homes, but about restoring dignity to people affected by their circumstances,” HBG chief executive officer Michael Oldenhof said.

“Today, as we hand over the keys to this home, we’re not just offering a structure of bricks and mortar, but a sanctuary, a place of safety and new beginnings for a family that deserves security and stability.

“While we know that one home won’t solve the crisis of homelessness, it’s an active step towards addressing the hardships faced by families in turmoil. We are both pleased and humbled to play a role in this important project.”

The new family house has been handed over to The Women’s Property Initiatives, an organisation that provides permanent and affordable homes for women at risk of homelessness along with access to support networks and ongoing advocacy.

The Victorian Homeless Fund chair Colleen May has been delighted by what has been achieved through the generosity of many working collaboratively to seek innovative ways of helping people in crisis.

“Domestic violence is the single biggest cause of homelessness in Australia. This is such a significant problem, and we can’t solve it by ourselves but if individually we all give a little, collectively, we can change people’s lives,” she said.

“This is a story of generosity, compassion, professionalism, hard work, and extending a helping hand to support those most in need.

“The builders, suppliers, and tradespeople who have donated to this project have been amazingly generous and because of them, a family will have a home and hope and a future.”

Considerable funding for this house was also provided by The Edward Wilson Estate, after whom the house will be named.

The woman and her children will move in in the following weeks.