By Bev Jordan
The Hills is about to lose it’s only transitional housing option for women fleeing domestic violence. T he house, run by the Lisa Harnum Foundation, will have to close at the end of August due to the financial cost.
The Foundation filled the gap for transitional housing in the Hills three years ago when the St Michael’s refuge in Baulkham Hills closed its doors. “At the moment we have two families there, one mum with a young baby and a another mum with two young children,” said LHF founder Aileen Mountifield. “It breaks my heart that we are having to close transitional housing in the Hills. “These women won’t have anywhere else to go.”
The Sanctuary_ The Hills Women’s Shelter will continue to offer crisis accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic harm. Mrs Mountifield said: “The difference between crisis housing and transitional housing is that families can stay with us much longer until they find housing.” In the past two years LHF has helped 10 families though transitional housing.
The decision to close the house has been made due to the financial burden of the annual rent of over $35,000. The LHF funds two case workers who also see women through the Safe Room project in major shopping centres. So far the program is running in Castle Towers and Macquarie Shopping Centre. Talks are in progress with a third major shopping centre to host a Safe Room. Mrs Mountifield said: “The Safe Room provides with women safety, and privacy, in a shopping centre which doesn’t attract any suspicion.” “A phone call to 1300 732 848 goes directly to a caseworker’s mobile who will talk to her and arrange to meet her somewhere in the shopping centre before taking her to the safe room.” “It’s bringing women out who would normally not seek help.”
The LHF is directing funds to expand services by employing more case workers. Mrs Mountifield said: “The transitional housing offers another level of support for women and children at risk. Ideally we would like to have both the house and the Safe Rooms.”
Anyone who can help should contact LHF [email protected] or 0431 367 352. or 0431 367 352