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Styling you

Styling You donates $10 from every T-shirt to The Lady Musgrave Trust

By | Blog

Brisbane-based fashion brand Styling You has announced it will donate $10 from the sale of every Nikki sequin SY logo t-shirt to The Lady Musgrave Trust.

Nikki Parkinson, the face and brains behind the brand, says she’s always supported charities that have a connection with women in the community.

“Just before launching the Styling You label, I knew that I wanted a percentage of the proceeds of this T-shirt to go to a charity that helps women in our community,” she says.

“And then I discovered The Lady Musgrave Trust, and it really struck a chord with me.

“I loved that I could help not only spread awareness about the charity, but also directly support it through the sales of this tee.”

Nikki started Styling You as a blog nearly 11 years ago, launched the online store three years ago and this year kicked off Styling You as its very own label.

“Styling You has grown off the back of a really beautiful community that comes together to feel more confident, to find confidence in their style and have that support of other women,” she says.

“At the heart of it, I talk about women and confidence through what they wear all the time but there’s a whole sector of our community who don’t necessarily have access to find that kind of confidence.

“So I’d like to be able to get our community thinking about that.”

The Nikki sequin SY logo t-shirt comes in two colours – black and blush.

“It’s made from super soft modal and has a curved hem for a flattering fit whether worn tucked in or out – so it’s a tee that people can feel good about buying, but it also feels great to wear,” she says.

“I’m really proud to be an ambassador for The Lady Musgrave Trust, who at the grassroots level are working to help women meet those basic important needs in life.”

Get your Nikki sequin SY logo t-shirt here.

Woman on step

What really causes homelessness for women and their children?

By | Blog, Homelessness

Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. And it can happen in an instant for anyone from any background. But when it comes to the reasons why people find themselves homeless the list is long and varied, touching on a range of social, economic and health-related factors.

It could be as seemingly simple as an unexpected car breakdown, losing a job or some other incident that sets the wheels in motion for a person to suddenly find themselves no longer able to afford their rent or accommodation costs.

Ongoing health issues, struggling to find affordable rental housing, economic and social exclusion, or not feeling safe at home are among the other reasons. But when you look at the research and the anecdotal evidence gathered by those in frontline services, there are four main causes that can single-handedly, or in combination, lead to homelessness.

Domestic violence

Family, sexual and domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness across Australia for women and children – and particularly so for those who are young, pregnant or have an Indigenous background. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that in 2016-17 about 72,000 women and 34,000 children found themselves homeless for this very reason. They also discovered the problem has only grown in the past five years.

The AIHW says in Australia one in four women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 15 and, alarmingly, on average one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.

Financial difficulties

In Queensland, 25 per cent of homelessness is attributed to experiencing financial difficulty and the inability to afford adequate housing. This can of course result from many different personal experiences, including short- or long-term unemployment or a sudden loss of employment, as well as debt, housing market pressures and rising rental and housing prices.

There are many other financial pressures too, from everyday living costs to unexpected costs that can tip a person’s budget over the edge and make them financially unstable. Often, financial difficulties will come in combination with the other key drivers for homelessness – such as family breakdown, health obstacles and domestic violence.

Some will experience intergenerational poverty and have never known any different, meaning they lack the connections and therefore possible support in periods of stress or financial hardship, which are difficult to face alone.

Mental health

The link between homelessness and mental health is well established. Just as mental health problems can be a key contributing factor in the lead-up to homelessness, the very experience of being homeless can leave a devastating impact on individuals at a mental and emotional level. These two issues are tightly interconnected and their impact on the other irrefutable.

While quantifying the prevalence of mental illness as a number of percentage in homeless populations is very difficult, and the estimates that do exist vary greatly, it is fair to say that mental health issues in homeless people are more common than in the average population.

Drug and alcohol issues

The research has found that drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is another factor that can play a role in causing homelessness, but it’s important to note that it’s not always a factor and that there are many stereotypes and stigmas around this very complex issue.

Researchers have consistently found that rates of alcohol and other drug use are higher in the homeless than for the general population – and that for women in particular, drugs can prove a bigger problem than alcohol. It is however very difficult to differentiate how much substance abuse leads to homelessness in comparison to how homelessness may lead to substance abuse, so they are are interconnected.

There are many varied factors that can influence a person’s life in the lead-up to and during homelessness that make this a very complex issue and one that we must continue to address.

 

The Lady Musgrave Trust is Queensland’s oldest charity, and is committed to making a difference in the lives of those who find themselves homeless and in need at difficult times in their life.

We focus specifically on women and children’s homelessness throughout Queensland and provide young women up to the age of 30 with low cost accommodation and support services in our portfolio in Brisbane and Ipswich. We also create and distribute The Handy Guide for Homeless Women and host a unique Annual Forum focused on women and homelessness.

Story Bridge

Monuments across Queensland to shine a light on homelessness for Women’s Week 2019

By | Blog, News

The week of 2-9 March 2019 is Queensland Women’s Week and The Lady Musgrave Trust is once again leading the cause with celebrations, fundraising and an awareness campaign that will see iconic landmarks across the state spring to life in purple lights.

A number of Queensland local councils will light up landmarks and monuments in their cities for the entire week to shine the spotlight on the issues surrounding women’s homelessness in Queensland.

Karen Lyon Reid, CEO of The Lady Musgrave Trust, said there were up to 10,000 homeless women across the state, and it was up to everyone to create a strong and supportive community for all women.

“Queensland Women’s Week is about recognising that we all have a role to play in creating a Queensland community that respects women, embraces gender equality, and promotes and protects the rights, interests and wellbeing of women and girls,” she said.

“We have to come together as a community and support those women who are disadvantaged.”

The week-long festivities will culminate on International Women’s Day (8 March), with the lighting of Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge in purple and The Lady Musgrave Trust’s SHElter Her Cocktail Party – a ticketed event that raises money for the trust’s activities throughout the year.

“This event is the major annual fundraiser for The Lady Musgrave Trust – a wonderful event people can come along to for a good time while supporting a very important cause,” Ms Lyon Reid said.

“We’re really pleased to have the support of the Queensland Government for this initiative, and we’re delighted to be joined by The Honourable Di Farmer, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, who is coming along to support the event and the issue on the day.”

The Lady Musgrave Trust relies heavily on this type of fundraising, as well as grants and donations, to do their work – providing accommodation for young women and producing The Handy Guide for homeless women, a directory that lists the details for vital support services across Queensland.

“Disadvantaged women come from all different circumstances,” Ms Lyon Reid said. “But the majority have experienced domestic violence, poverty and or poor mental health.”

“The more people who hear about the important work we do, the more will hopefully reach out to support us and assist to put this guide into the hands of the women who need it most.

“We’re always looking to increase distribution at organisations in local communities, including as many hospitals, shelters, community centres and police stations as possible.”

Queensland Women’s Week is just one out of a full year of activities for The Lady Musgrave Trust that focuses on addressing the issues around women and homelessness.

“This continues our legacy of 134 years of supporting Queensland’s disadvantaged women and assisting women wherever we can.”

Monuments shining a light on homelessness for Queensland Women’s Week 2019:

  • Brisbane City Council – Story Bridge on Friday 8 March, International Women’s Day, only
  • Rockhampton Regional Council – Lights on the buildings in Quay Street + Heritage Façade
  • Southern Downs Regional Council – Town Hall
  • Logan City Council – Water towers and also possibly our main administration building.
  • City of Ipswich – Lighting of Ipswich Civic Centre and Studio 188
  • Mackay Regional Council – Civic Precinct Fountain
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council – The Hub in Caboolture

 

Photo in header by Sue Whiteman.

House key ring

What does it mean to be homeless?

By | Homelessness

On any given night in Australia, there are 116,000 people who are considered homeless. That’s about 50 homeless persons for every 10,000 people. And the rate of homelessness is only increasing – up 4.6 per cent in five years according the the latest data from the 2016 Census.

But what does it actually mean to be homeless?

The very word ‘homelessness’ conjures an image that alludes to sleeping rough. But in reality, this vision represents only about seven per cent of the homeless population.

While there’s no internationally recognised common definition of homelessness, in Australia our federal law defines it as ‘inadequate access to safe and secure housing’.

This includes where the only housing available to a person is likely to damage their health or threatens their safety, or perhaps marginalises them by failing to provide access to adequate personal amenities or the normal economic and social support of a home. It also includes where it may place them in circumstances that threaten or adversely affect the adequacy, safety, security and affordability of that housing.

What this doesn’t include is the multitude of people who are ‘sleeping rough’, which often involves people moving between friends and families houses in search of a safe night’s sleep.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) offers further insight to understand the complexities and help show how homelessness can affect people in different ways, depending on their own personal situations and needs.

To better understand homelessness in its various forms and what it looks like and what those people are experiencing, they’ve created three specific categories to specify the details and differences – primary, secondary and tertiary homelessness.

“Primary homelessness” includes those living on the streets, in parks, under bridges, in deserted buildings or improvised dwellings – or being ‘roofless’ or ‘sleeping out’ as it’s sometimes called. This is the most visible kind of homeless, but is the smallest statistic.

“Secondary homelessness” refers to people who are moving between various types of temporary shelters. This includes emergency accommodation, refuges and hostels, bunking with friends and relatives, and living in a boarding house on a long-term basis with shared amenities and no secure tenure.
And “tertiary homelessness” – people who are living in single rooms in private boarding houses without their own bathroom and kitchen, and no secure tenure.

It is important to recognise that all of these forms or levels of homelessness involve a group of people who are in need of safe and secure housing in order to get back on their feet and have the basic human right of shelter.

The Lady Musgrave Trust helps by focusing specifically on women and children’s homelessness throughout Queensland. We provide young women up to the age of 30 with low cost accommodation and support services in our portfolio in Brisbane and Ipswich. We also create and distribute The Handy Guide for Homeless Women and host a unique Annual Forum focused on women and homelessness.

As Queensland’s oldest charity, The Lady Musgrave Trust is committed to making a difference in the lives of those who find themselves homeless and in need at difficult times in their life.

christmas gift

Myer Indooroopilly Christmas gift wrapping to raise funds for The Lady Musgrave Trust

By | Blog, Homelessness, News

This Christmas, volunteers from St Peters Lutheran College will be gift wrapping at Myer Indooroopilly to raise funds for The Lady Musgrave Trust.

Thanks to a wonderful group of students, parents and teacher volunteers, Christmas shoppers who buy items at Myer Indooroopilly can have their gifts wrapped for them, on the spot.

All money raised will go towards helping The Lady Musgrave Trust to continue delivering essential services for young homeless women in need.

The 2018 Myer Charity Christmas Wrapping kicks off today, Friday December 7th, until Christmas Eve, with daily gift wrapping from 10.00am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.00pm – including weekends.

“St Peters Lutheran College, through our Community Hub, are delighted to assist The Lady Musgrave Trust with their Christmas wrapping fundraiser,” says Deputy Head of College Lisa Delaney.

“The wonderful work done by the Trust reflects the College’s values of Care, Dignity and Respect.

“Our community has rallied behind this initiative and we are looking forward to a very successful fundraising venture and to continuing our partnership with the Trust.”

The Lady Musgrave Trust is honoured to have the support of both the school and Myer Indooroopilly over the festive season – which can often be a difficult period for those families in need.

The Lady Musgrave Trust has a long-running connection with Myer Indooroopilly, who have been raising funds through the Myer Community Fund for two years now through regular staff morning teas and who offered the Trust this opportunity for Christmas wrapping.

On the 13th December they will also be hosting a morning tea with the Myer Indooroopilly staff and The Lady Musgrave Trust board members, to celebrate their very generous, recent donation of $25,000.

This will contribute to the cost of accommodation for women and children across Queensland.

The Trust relies on the support of the community to assist women and children in need and deliver such essential services. We are truly grateful for the ongoing support from Myer Indooroopilly to help us make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

While Christmas is often seen as the happiest time of year, it is also hard for many families. Let’s remember that and support families in need.

Thanks to…

St Peters Myer

 

Lady Musgrave Trust Success Stories

Changing the trajectory of young women – the important questions we need to ask

By | Blog

By Misha Kaur, Senior Manager, Reason Group

I believe that we, as a collective, need to work together to change the trajectory of young women and girls as early as possible. While there are barriers and challenges, both at the individual and societal level, the future presents many opportunities and we need to do our best to support women to exploit these.

It’s clear women have what it takes. In the early teenage years, girls are more financially literate than boys and young women have higher rates of attaining bachelor degrees than men. Going forward, women have the upper edge to harness the changing nature of work and jobs the future presents too.

The skills required in this future, are not what I like to call “soft skills”, but human skills. Women innately have these essentials – an ability to foster relationships, communication, an ability to adapt to change, empathy and emotional intelligence.

And technology means that, going forward, we can increasingly build work more effectively around our life, our children and our family, also allowing women to do work that truly inspires them. Yet another example – growth in STEM offers new opportunities for women in industries that have previously been male dominated. The list of opportunities is endless.

But how do we shift mindsets to foster a society that supports women to exploit these opportunities and be recognised and rewarded for what each woman is worth? There are many questions worth considering and finding answers to, in a bid to create real change in this space.

Of course, we should never lose focus of housing services and crisis support – we need to have that safety net – but with a holistic approach there is huge potential in focusing on strategies that result in preventing women from entering the system in the first place as well as better supporting them to leave the system, permanently.

How can we shift mindsets at an individual level and instil financial independence?

How do we inspire a sense of purpose and belief of the value of each woman, and through this, foster the importance of financial literacy and independence?  Perhaps this turns the usual thinking upside down but without the right mindset, financial literacy is irrelevant to people.  But financial literacy is so important so women can stand on our own two feet and understand how to find their own purpose, gain meaningful employment, invest wisely and feel self-supported with their own sense of financial independence.

With strong financial foundations, women can better bounce back from setbacks or relationship separations, building the skills we need to flourish, and in ensuring we are recognised for our value and treated with respect.

First, we must help women understand the value they bring, help them see a future, help them want a future.

How do we build communities as a source of trust and support?

Not all young girls and women have family who can help them with mindset and overcoming barriers – so how can we bring on others to help, such as friends, trusted persons, educational institutions and peers?

I love some of the current strategies of really fostering community-based housing responses – where we bring back our human nature of a sense of community where everyone supports each other. In addition, many of these responses provide a wide a range of support services that focus on a woman as a whole, and helps to address barriers and improve employability. With a community-based response, we can really focus on a long-term goal to help people permanently leave the homelessness system and thrive in life.

How do we create a society and environment that’s conducive for women to exploit the many opportunities of the future of work?

There’s still much work to be done when it comes to shifting the social norms of gender – for example, what ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ work is, or the gender pay gap. How do we shift the mindsets of employers and society in general to actually value and understand the benefits of diversity, rather than simply aiming for the idea of gender equity?

Things have improved in this space, but there are still barriers and gaps for women in the workplace and we need to keep our foot on the pedal.

As our future changes and new types of opportunities arise, how do we instil excitement of all children in the growing STEM fields early, and instil creativity and business mindset for young girls and women?  How do we create an environment where we shift employer attitudes, but also the labour market environment, so employers can give people a go where they otherwise may not have? And how do we make it easier for women to pursue entrepreneurial activity – to innovate or be a small start-up or business in Australia

Australia is known for having a very difficult small business regulatory environment that is hard to navigate, and for at risk people such as those from diverse backgrounds this can be even harder.

We need to think innovatively about broader shifts to policies and the system to help women exploit the opportunities of the future.

How can we work together to understand the real barriers, and leverage shared knowledge to create real, lasting change?

In a tightening fiscal environment, we need community, trusted persons, friends and mentors, education, health and community sectors to collaborate and work together. Allow our historical assumptions to be challenged.

We need to understand the needs and the barriers of women at risk and consider them as whole individuals, not just from the sector we work in. It is a complex world, and one moving part affects the other, so we need to understand where we show up but understand that anything we do has broader effects, and for government, consider broader policies in this way.

We say we want to innovate but are we really ready to do this? It might mean letting go of power and harnessing the wisdom of the crowd, and sharing decision-making. It might also mean letting go of any individual agendas to ensure that together we are greater than the sum of our parts.

This is the reason I invest so much of my time and energy in trying to shift the mindset of government and policymakers – to adopt more human-centred and more holistic practices and better understand the needs of women, the community, employers.

It is often things the things we don’t jump to first that are the real barriers to making progress and we need to leverage knowledge of those around us to help us.

It is why I work with government to in shift their role – from the central decision maker to a broker of partnerships –  and devolve some of the responsibility, ownership, and power of decision-making to others. It is also why I work with government and organisations to shift their mindsets so we can actually succeed in innovating and collaborating.

A positive future where women succeed is possible.  We will see it, when we believe it. With that, I challenge us all, to consider how we shift our own mindsets, to let go and work together, to allow innovation to occur, and to change the trajectory of young girls and women so they can harness the opportunities of the future.

Misha Kaur is a strategist and thought leader who helps governments and large organisations communicate, design and execute meaningful policies and design-led thinking.

Karin Jansma

Human Centred Design a key to the homelessness solution

By | News

by Ruth Knight – QUT – Postdoctoral Research Fellow – The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies

 

As nonprofits we seek change, change for our beneficiaries, families and communities. In particular, homelessness is one social challenge we are all seeking to reduce.

But how do we do that in an innovative way? How can we get smarter at developing services and interventions that create transformation for those experiencing homelessness, and for our organisation that needs to be efficient and effective?

One way I believe we can achieve this, is by using Human Centred Design (HCD). What is HCD exactly? It’s is a deliberate process where you listen to, and observe people to understand the challenge from their perspective, then use what you learn as inspiration to develop innovative solutions that are systematically tested and evaluated as it is developed.

It is a continuous process of listening, observing, and learning from those you work with, then collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders such as academia, policy makers, practitioners from across the sector including business. No one should be left out of the process!

Essentially, it’s all collaborating and brainstorming to drive new ideas and innovation, and then putting those innovative ideas into practice.

For an idea of HCD in practice, these are the basic steps you should follow when designing a service or intervention:

1. Talk to people

Talk to everybody, including the beneficiaries, experts that work with homeless people, academics and researchers, and all the different people within your organisation – that could be people from departments like HR, finance and fundraising. It might even be business people and government as well. Get everybody talking to you about the challenge to get a real collaborative viewpoint on the issue and ways to overcome it.

2. Form insights

Form insights from the many different points of view and different perspectives you’ve gained – bring together all that information from the policy makers, service providers, the beneficiaries themselves and more. That’s how you form insights into the real problem. To get to know know what the REAL problem is, you have to drill it all down.

 3. Ideate and prototype

Once you have an understanding of what the real problem is, it’s time to start looking for an innovative solution. Explore what the various solutions might be. Ideate and prototype the concept of a solution, but don’t go spend all your money on it yet if you don’t know it’s right.

4. Test and iterate

Put the solution into practice and evaluate its effectiveness, refining any aspects or barriers to success as you go.

As you can see, HCD crosses the traditional boundaries between public, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors. HCD allows high-impact solutions to bubble up from challenging our assumptions, thinking about social problems in a different way and working more collaboratively with those in the community to achieve better outcomes and collective impact.

I truly believe this process is the way to design an end to homelessness and poverty by bringing creativity, empathy, and innovation to the social sector.

 

At The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies we are also currently developing a course for non-profits to learn how to do HCD. For more information, feel free to contact me at ruth.knight@qut.edu.au or find out more online.

The new Lady Musgrave Trust website

Welcome to the new home of The Lady Musgrave Trust

By | News

Welcome to the new online home of The Lady Musgrave Trust. As Queensland’s oldest charity, The Lady Musgrave Trust was founded in 1885 and has a proud and long history of service. In this time, the Trust has provided accommodation and support assistance to more than 10,000 young women and their children.

This new and improved website and revamped look represents a new chapter for The Lady Musgrave Trust and one that is filled with exciting things ahead. We still have so much more important work to do.

Please take the time to read about what we do, our history and our research on homelessness and young women. Discover more about the services we offer, how your support helps and the many success stories we are happy to share.

On our new site, you’ll also find plenty of information about how to get involved and the various events the Trust is involved in such as our Annual Women and Homelessness Forum, which is we just held or our fabulous ShelterHer Cocktail Party very fast approaching.

The Handy Guide

Another very exciting resource you can find here – and one that we are very proud to offer, free of cost – is The Handy Guide.

This guide is an informative booklet developed by The Lady Musgrave Trust to empower women across Queensland – both in rural and major metropolitan areas – who are without shelter or at risk of becoming homeless.

It is a comprehensive go-to resource developed to help women in need, when they need it most, with the details and listings of vital services such as accommodation, food and welfare, health services, legal assistance and specialist domestic violence support services. It also features a wealth of information on community and employment services, as well as emergency phone numbers.

Looking forwards

Going forward, The Lady Musgrave Trust has ambitions to become a key resource on women and homelessness in Queensland and to continue to be a name that people know and recognise as a hub they can turn to for advice and support.