Over the past two months Julie and her teammates at the Women’s House have worked hard and shown a tremendous amount of flexibility to amend our services and keep our doors open, in a time when women need us more than ever.
We’ve reached out to Julie for a virtual chat about what working at the Women’s House looks like for now and why she is so proud of what she does:
I personally love the face-to-face contact with our clients when they present to the Women’s House.
Pre COVID-19 we would welcome at least 35-40 women into the house for a meal, social inclusion and some creative classes such as ceramics, mosaics, art therapy and yoga.
I love the interaction with the clients and listening to their stories and what they have been doing since the last time that we had talked.
I am also passionate about working with them during case management and advocating and representing them on their journeys out of homelessness or their AOD and family violence situations.
On a personal note. Last year I was awarded an internal Sacred Heart Mission staff award in the citizenship category for recognised outstanding work during the year. This award is acknowledged by peers when they nominate a fellow worker for the award.
I was so proud that I was able to receive it on behalf of the fantastic team that I am a part of.
Workwise, I am so proud when my clients are able to live a safe and healthy life in their own property. In particular those who have been able to maintain their new homes, save some money and are then trying to live a “normal” life that she has craved for, for many years.
The Women’s House is a day hub for women to come and use for a number of hours a day. We can offer breakfast for those who may have had to sleep on the streets the night before or those who just can’t afford to buy food.
The house also offers a two course meal at lunch time again for those who just can’t afford to buy nutritional food. We have art and crafts such as ceramics, art therapy, mosaics, knitting classes and yoga classes. We also have the services of a local legal service on a weekly basis to give legal advice.
The Women’s House encourages social interaction for women who may not have the support of family and friends.
On a daily basis, women can have the use of the laundry to wash and dry their clothes and if needed a shower which is a daily requirement for most but can be a luxury for some of our clients.
There is also the use of our sleep room for women who may be sleeping rough on the streets and who are unable to close their eyes at night for fear of assaults or worse.
All these services have now been cancelled until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are limited with our services, but are still able to offer advocacy for those sleeping on the street or couch surfing in finding them emergency housing.
We are offering food hampers to the vulnerable and also food vouchers for those who find that they are unable to cope financially.
Our service is still offering Case Management and are taking on new cases on a daily basis.
On a personal basis, yes. I feel that the basic hygiene measures that we are all taking now, using social distancing and the frequent use of sanitiser and the washing of hands and the wiping down of surfaces will remain in my life for a very long time.
I would think the Women’s House will also continue to practice these hygiene measures into the future.
I also believe that we will be more mindful of others and a little more caring toward people that we meet and interact with each day.
Hopefully, we will still have access to funding and housing and that we can at least concentrate on those vulnerable women who have nothing and don’t have the opportunity for a better life and the basic needs to make their life more promising in the future.
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