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Bethlehem Community

Community housing for women

Older woman with glasses seated in the Bethlehem community garden, looking directly at you

Bethlehem Community is based in the northern suburbs and provides safe, community-based housing for women. Our two Bethlehem housing sites at Reservoir and Thomastown provide medium to long-term accommodation with case management support as well as social inclusion activities for women. In partnership with Unison Community Housing, Bethlehem Community provides support to women living in long-term-permanent independent community housing, as well as outreach support to ex-residents now living in private rental.  

Many of the women who access support services at Bethlehem have experienced long-term homelessness, family violence, mental illness, intellectual disabilities, poverty, abuse, trauma, alcohol and other drug abuse and other social and health issues.

Bethlehem Community is built on the following core values:

  • Safety and security
  • Compassion and caring
  • Respect and dignity
  • Quality housing
  • A non-judgmental approach
  • Empowerment and -selfdetermination – acceptance of individuality
  • Trusting relationships based on open communication and support.

Reservoir

Based in Reservoir, this Bethlehem Community site comprises of 10 bedrooms with ensuites, a large communal kitchen, common dining room, a lounge room and extensive gardens. A covered deck is popular for socialising, art classes or quiet time. All women who live here receive 24-hour support. Staff are present to support women in their daily lives as well as for  case management and social inclusion activities. Some women may need ongoing supported accommodation and others may, through the support provided, build their capacity for more independent living.

Thomastown

Our Thomastown site (called Sophia’s) is a purpose-built apartment complex with 17 rooms that provides independent, affordable housing to women. Bethlehem Community provides outreach-based support, case management and social inclusion activities to women living at Sophia’s. Residents live in independent units, which include a kitchen, living and dining area, bedroom, bathroom and balcony or courtyard. A fully equipped community room provides a central hub for a range of activities. Sophia’s residents also have access to a community garden, barbecue area and a shared laundry. 

Quotes from residents

“I hope Bethlehem continues to grow. I wish there were more places like it for women in crisis. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if there had been no Bethlehem.”

“My life is back on track and I have passion again. I look forward to getting up in the morning (yes, I did say morning!).”

“I came here afraid, frightened, unsure, bewildered. At the end of my tether, I had given up, felt beaten, depressed and lost. Thanks to everyone here for giving me back a life, love, hope and mateship, everything a soul is in need of, is here.”

Bethlehem Community can be contacted on T: 9462 3937 or via mail at PO Box 273 Reservoir 3073.

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0132,414Meals served through our meals program in 2017
01,7000Volunteers contributed more than 66,000 hours in 2017
05,700Responses to requests for support at our Women’s House in 2017
Sacred Heart Mission respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.
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