Homelessness is increasing in Sydney’s west, and older women are particularly vulnerable. The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018 report into homelessness states that the electorate of Parramatta has had a 68% increase in homelessness since 2011, putting in the top 10 across the state, along with neighbouring electorates of Auburn (163% increase, the state’s highest) and Granville (79.6%).Women are the demographic that is increasing the most in homelessness statistics across the state (up 75% across NSW), be it due to domestic violence or due to the ageing population.
It is for these reasons that The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre is providing their ‘From House to Home’ program to women in the Parramatta LGA. The ‘From House to Home’ program offers quality second hand furniture and household items at no cost to women re-establishing a home.
In 2015 the Bower Reuse & Repair Centre set up their first ‘From House to Home’ project with Mums4Refugees, supporting asylum seekers and their families. Following on from this success, they plan to use this same model to expand this project to work with referral agencies supporting women and children. They have already established working relationships with nine agencies – Mary’s House, Parramatta Mission, Women & Girls Emergency Centre and Bonnie Support Services – Parramatta Mission – Life without Barriers – House of Welcome – SSI and Newton Asylum Seekers.
The new partnership with DOOLEYS through ClubGRANTS has allowed the program to extend by increasing the ‘line of credit’ for the humanitarian agencies that refer their clients to the service. The agencies assess clients for their specific needs and provide them with a referral letter to the Parramatta store, stating the type of goods required (eg double bed, fridge, dining table with four chairs) or the value of goods to be provided. The client simply selects their preferred items and they are then delivered by The Bower’s truck.
“This program treats women with respect & dignity, it supports the circular economy in Sydney and stops usable items from going to landfill unnecessarily”, said Guido Verbist, General Manager of The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre. “This program is a win for the community and a win for the environment.”
To find out more information about From House to Home or The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre, please visit https://bower.org.au/.