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There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for homelessness

By | Blog, Homelessness

A wide range of speakers discussed why there is no ‘quick fix’ for women facing homelessness at The Lady Musgrave Trust’s 11th Annual Women and Homelessness Forum.

The theme of this year’s Forum was ‘Building Resilience – Surviving and Thriving’. As the speakers shared their reflections on the topic with the sold-out crowd at the Queensland Multicultural Centre, it quickly became clear that ‘surviving and thriving’ will mean something different for every individual woman facing the threat of homelessness.

The Member for Redlands, Kim Richards MP — appearing at the event on behalf of the Hon Mick de Brenni, Queensland Minister for the Department of Housing and Public Works — noted that “every situation is different, every circumstance is different”, and that homelessness can happen to virtually any woman at any time.

“I’ve seen it in my own family,” she said.

“My sister lives up in Cairns. She moved up there because that’s where her husband worked at the time. It was a very happy marriage, or what she thought was a very happy marriage, for 10 years. She was a stay-at-home mum, she had given up her career for his career. All of a sudden it was over.

“She didn’t have the skills she needed to get back into the workforce. She didn’t have the means to be economically independent. Finding a house up in Cairns… it was complex, and it was difficult, and without family support at the time, it would have been [even more] difficult.

“My sister was one of the lucky ones because she had a family that could help her. A lot of people don’t have that. They don’t have access to a family that can support them in that way to get back into their home, and to get back on to the pathway that helps them take their future forward.”

Financial counsellor Mark Bates explained that when people were going through a financial crisis, “it’s often because of something that’s beyond their control”.

“It might be a job loss or something like that. It can be quite scary, because I often find with the clients I’ve worked with that very small things can land people in a very, very difficult space.

“I had a gentleman come to see me who’d run his own multi-million dollar international business. The business had failed, he had started drinking and his wife had left him. He was not able to open his own mail anymore. He needed someone to be there to open his bills with him. What that tells us is that things can change very dramatically, even when we think we’re in a fantastic position, so you should always show respect and humility.”

Dr Ruth Knight, a Senior Research Fellow at QUT’s Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, said organisations needed to innovate to be able to meet the varying needs of people at risk.

“There are a myriad of issues we need to address,” she said.

“We can’t just give people a house and expect to solve homelessness. We can’t just provide mental health services and expect to solve mental illness. We have to take a ‘systems view’ to our community; we have to look at the ways that we can be innovative within our organisations; we have to get much better at evaluating and reporting our impact; and we need to create better partnerships with the funders of our services — not just government, but social investors and philanthropists.

“All of that is critical to whether we’re going to get better or we’re going to get worse. We’re all in this. We’re all responsible, not just government.”

Kim Richards emphasised the need for a “more personalised and tailored approach” to dealing with homelessness.

“From a government point of view, resilience is about having the right programs, but it’s also about having the right people,” she said.

“I know we can’t do it on our own. I don’t think any one entity can do it on their own. It’s about walking the journey together, and that is critical to breaking the cycle of homelessness.”

Madonna King on the age of instant gratification

By | Blog, Thought Leadership

Award-winning journalist Madonna King discussed the downsides of the digital age at The Lady Musgrave Trust 11th Annual Women and Homelessness Forum.

King was a keynote speaker at the Women and Homelessness Forum, which drew a sold-out crowd to the Queensland Multicultural Centre to hear a range of speakers discuss this year’s theme, ‘Building Resilience — Surviving and Thriving’.

King, the mother of two teenage daughters, served as chair of the Queensland Government’s Anti-Cyber Bullying Taskforce in 2018, and gained a wealth of insight into the minds of young girls by speaking to more than 1500 of them over the course of writing her recent best-selling books, ‘Being 14’ and ‘Fathers and Daughters’.

“The iPhone has an enormous influence [on teens], and it’s not all bad,” King told the crowd.

“But it is also the biggest threat to connectedness, certainly in my lifetime. How do we teach our children that if you are not a kind person online, then you are not a kind person? How do we teach young boys that asking girls for a naked selfie is not respectful? And how do we tell our feisty young girls that the answer, when asked, is no?”

King said the “instant gratification” today’s teens have come to expect makes it difficult for them to develop resilience and persistence.

“The power of ‘now’ is a huge influence,” she said.

“There’s a story I tell students, and if you have a child, I recommend you tell them this. Ask them if they know how we used to take a photograph back in the old days, when we were their age. Remember?

“First we would line up the photograph, because we were responsible for the focus. There was no such thing as automatic focus. Then, once we’d take a photograph, we’d put the camera away, because we had to take another 11, or 23, or 35 photos before we could see any of them. That was never the same day, or even the same week. Memories were built up over time.

“Once we’d taken all our photos, we’d open the back door of the camera, and take out the film… then we’d take the film to the pharmacy. That adds to the story, because dropping it off meant a trip on foot or in the car. Downloading or uploading was not an option.

“But what happened a week later? We went back to the pharmacy with two things — money to pay for the photographs, which meant we considered each one that we took, and something else, too… a delightful sense of anticipation. That sense of anticipation has been stolen from our children, and I think as adults in their world, we have to find a way of gifting it back to them.

“It’s only an anecdote, I know, but it points to that issue of persistence, and how it is so lacking in our everyday transactions now. We no longer value it.

“I wrote the biography of Professor Ian Frazer, who developed the science behind the cervical cancer vaccine. Do you know it took 15 years of experiments, almost every day, to come up with the science that allowed the vaccine to be created? What would have happened if he’d stopped after one year? Or even 14 years?

“FOMO — fear of missing out — is driving our children’s motivations, and that means they don’t get to stop and hear white space. They don’t know who they are or who they want to be. They’re connected to the technology, not the person at the other end of the technology.”

King said girls are “crying out for connection”, but those cries aren’t always being heard by their parents.

“The influence of peers, and that need to fit in, runs tandem with the influence of the smartphone world that envelops them,” she said.

“Last week I was in Melbourne, running a workshop for teen girls. One of them, a 14-year-old, came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Can you just tell me how I get people to be nice to me?’

“That age, around 14, is the epicentre of this teen turmoil. That is well recognised in the school system, but not so much, I think, in our families and the community at large. We have to recognise how difficult it is for them, and respond in a way that influences and connects, instead of driving a wedge between us.

“We, as parents, can be so much more influential in our daughters’ lives, but we have to lead from the front, because our daughters will not ask for our help.”

Madonna’s books, ‘Being 14’ and ‘Fathers and Daughters’, are available online or through any good bookstore.

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.

Afterpay on Phone

Why managing money matters for women at risk of homelessness

By | Blog, Homelessness, News

A little knowledge can go a long way. It can even be the difference between the safety of home and the dangers of homelessness.

Of course, there are any number of reasons that someone can become homeless. But according to Lynne Hughes, a financial counsellor with The Salvation Army’s Moneycare service, many people underestimate the importance of getting help early.

Financial shocks like losing your job, getting sick or injured, or leaving a relationship requires an urgent reassessment of the budget. Some people use credit to try and get them through the difficult times when a longer term strategy would be more helpful. Some also don’t call the real estate agent or their mortgage provider early enough.

“A lot of our clients are vulnerable. They’re on a low fixed incomes and don’t have the wiggle room to participate in the high cost financial products like payday loans, consumer leases and Afterpays that are readily available to this group, or the new pay as you go products like Uber Eats or Uber taxis.

People can be easily sucked into using these products without really understanding the risks to their budget. Repayments are usually set up via direct debit to their bank account or Centrepay and before you know it there is little money left for rent, food or medical costs. Afterpays encourage overspending and it’s easy to get two or three of these without realising the detrimental effect it will have on the budget.

As a financial counsellor, Hughes is trained to assess her clients’ financial situation and help them develop a plan to improve it, especially if the debts put housing security at risk. According to Hughes, it’s often the job of the financial counsellor to help their clients get a better grasp on – their priorities – and, in some cases, to understand the real value of the roof over their head.

Hughes says that in the 5 years to 2017/18 The Salvation Army’s Moneycare service saw 67% of participants in housing stress, paying more than 30% of their income toward housing whilst 25% of participants experienced extreme housing stress paying 70% of their income towards housing. More than one in four private renters experienced extreme housing stress and in the last 10 years the proportion of private renters over 55 had increased by 55.5%.

To better understand the value of education, The Salvation Army Moneycare undertook a study with Swinburne University that found 94% of financial counselling participants ‘wished they had known earlier ’. As a result of that study Hughes says Moneycare has an emphasis on “educating the community more about budgeting and money”.

Hughes says she often passes The Lady Musgrave Trust’s Handy Guide for Homeless Women on to her female clients, “because all the resources in there are terrific”.

Whether a client is facing a crisis or just looking to tighten up their budget, Hughes says an appointment with a financial counsellor will provide them with helpful and practical information — and that information could make all the difference.

“Financial counselling offers people a step in the right direction, so hopefully they don’t end up facing homelessness.”

 

Women’s financial literacy will be discussed at the 11th Annual Forum on Women and Homelessness, along with a blend of thought-provoking presentations, practical case studies, panel discussions and master classes on mentoring women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, at the Queensland Multicultural Centre (102 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane) on Wednesday 7 August, 2019.

Woman on step

Building resilience is a lifelong pursuit, but one well worth the effort

By | Blog, News

Paula Barrett is an expert when it comes to building resilience to help navigate life’s ups and downs.

As a scholar and groundbreaking researcher in the field of psychology and resilience, she has been internationally recognised in the top 1 per cent of global publishers within her field and has received many awards throughout her career – including the Highly Commended Certificate in the Human Rights Medal of the Australian Human Rights Commission for her contribution to the well being of children, youth and the wider community.

This makes Paula Barrett the perfect keynote speaker for The Lady Musgrave Trust’s 2019 Forum on Women and Homelessness.

Why is resilience so important? Barrett says it acts as a foundation in our lives.

“There are always challenges throughout life that everyone has to be able to learn to cope with and continue to move forward and confidently embrace life opportunities, despite what has happened in the past,” she says.

“Whether that’s a challenge in the family, a career setback, an illness, a natural disaster or an unpredictable traumatic event, there are always life situations where we need to rise up and be strong.

“That means learning how to cope in positive ways and also finding support networks and developing healthy coping mechanisms.”

Barrett says that resilience “is really a collection of life skills”.

“It’s like building a reservoir of life skills so that you can approach challenges in a positive, confident way.”

And empowerment is key, she says.

“I really believe in empowering people with skills so they can have a stronger approach, more self-confidence, be healthier and have an enhanced sense of wellbeing – people from all sectors of society deserve this,” Barrett says.

“Some people are born more resilient than others, but we can all learn as a population to be more resilient.

“Just like we can learn to be better and stronger at any other skill, like swimming or singing, we can all learn resilience independent of age, cultural background, gender and other factors.”

Barrett says some of the most important skills to learn include developing and understanding emotions and feelings – learning how to self regulate and self soothe, developing empathy and compassion, and understanding emotions in others.

“It’s important to learn to pay attention to the five senses and the positive aspects of life around us,” she says.

“It’s equally important to learn to be able to adapt our thinking – about ourselves, others and our environment – from negative to positive.

“And there’s the capacity to be present, and mindful.

“Building resilience is a lifelong pursuit, but one that we can choose to learn at any stage in our lives.”

Paula Barrett is a keynote speaker at the The 11th Annual Forum on Women and Homelessness, which will explore themes around building resilience, surviving and thriving, in Brisbane on Wednesday 7 August, 2019.

Madonna King on stage

What’s influencing our teen girls? Madonna King to present at 2019 Annual Forum on Women and Homelessness

By | Blog, News

Madonna King has a deep and unique understanding of what makes young women tick.

Apart from being one of Australia’s most accomplished journalists and the author of nine books, King’s most recent work is the best-selling study on just how dads and their teen girls get along, Fathers and Daughters.

Her research saw her talking to young women across the country and the many professionals who interact with them on a daily basis, making King the perfect keynote speaker for The Lady Musgrave Trust’s 2019 Forum on Women and Homelessness.

The author has gained a wealth of insight into the worlds and minds of young women and how they experience the world they’re growing up in today.

“Over the last two years I’ve interviewed about 1500 girls, 400 dads, 60 mums, dozens and dozens of school principals, teen psychologists, teachers, guidance officers and parenting experts,” King says.

“And as a mother of two teenagers, I can see a real concern relating to tomorrow’s female leaders.”

She cites a “lack of connectedness” as a key issue, despite the fact that young girls are often connected via a phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Many of them are utterly alone and dealing with really serious things,” she says.

“When we were children and we had an argument at school, we could come home and close the doors and home was a sanctuary – and often only one parent was working.

“Now a girl will come home and go into her room, where any kind of argument can escalate and go right through the night.

“This sense of fitting in is so big now that our girls will almost do anything largely to fit in.

“The quandary they’re in, in who they are, their identity, is much more difficult than when we were that age.

“They are not talking to their parents, they are being influenced by people online they’ve never met. There’s a tsunami of instant gratification.

“What’s the impact of this?”

King will share her insights into those impacts and much more when she speaks at the 2019 Annual Forum on Women and Homelessness in Brisbane on Wednesday 7 August.

“My heart goes out to them,” King says.

“They’re just so vulnerable in a world so different from the people making policy and indeed their own parents.”

King says there is an “epidemic of anxiety among teen girls” and that they commonly experience “dramatic highs and lows”.

“I think we have high expectations of our girls and they have high expectations of themselves.”

She also says the importance of parents should never be underestimated – particularly dads.

“Too many fathers settle for the role of provider, not parent – and I think there is a generation of teenagers screaming out for contact with their parents.

“And in a busy busy world, we as parents have to stop and ensure we’re not just listening to our kids but really hearing what they’re telling us.”

Madonna King is a keynote speaker at the The 11th Annual Forum on Women and Homelessness, which will explore themes around building resilience, surviving and thriving, in Brisbane on Wednesday 7 August.

YAC

The Lady Musgrave Trust appoints its first Youth Advisory Committee

By | Blog, News

L-R (back) Bridget Clark, Brittanie Dreghorn, Kate Hudson, CEO Karen Lyon Reid
L-R (front) Brianna Kelly, Georgia Amery

Queensland’s oldest charity and champion for homeless women The Lady Musgrave Trust has appointed its first Youth Advisory Committee to support its Executive Board.

The strategically selected members of the committee will provide insight from the viewpoint of younger people to help shape the Trust’s various business functions, says The Lady Musgrave Trust Chief Executive Officer Karen Lyon Reid.

“We’ve selected five women between the ages of 18-30 who specialise or have experience in different business functions or areas of the community,” she says.

“As a group, the Youth Advisory Committee will be expected to generate suggestions for consideration by the Board in relation to opportunities for revenue raising, promotion and advertising, recruitment of future members, and training opportunities.”

The Youth Advisory Committee members have been appointed for an initial period of 2 years. They are:

  • Georgia Amery – Analyst at Deloitte
  • Brianna Kelly – Bid Manager APAC at Architecture Firm Populous
  • Kate Hudson – Full time student
  • Bridget Clark – Marketing professional at NFP Arts Organisation Voices of Birralee
  • Brittanie Dreghorn – Marketing professional at The Content Division

Committee member Bridget Clark says she wanted to be a part of the Youth Advisory Committee because she believes in The Lady Musgrave Trust’s cause and is passionate about the non-profit sector.

“I am hoping to be pushed beyond my comfort zone and to develop new skills and ways of thinking, both rationally and emotionally, to create positive change in the lives of homeless women and children,” Ms Clark says.

Committee member Brittanie Dreghorn says she’s excited to join the Trust and share insights from a young professional’s perspective.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone from any background so I think there’s work to be done in communicating that and also the services provided by The Lady Musgrave Trust,” she says.

“Solving the issue of homelessness relies on so many other things including helping victims of domestic violence, increasing safe access to public health services and much more, so in the meantime having support and housing for women is really important.”

Brianna Kelly says she was shocked to hear that homelessness is even a possibility for women her age.

“Homelessness does not discriminate and I hope to get involved to raise enough awareness and money to completely eradicate the problem, not only for the young women of Brisbane but for all homeless people,” she says.

Kate Hudson said she was excited to be joining The Lady Musgrave Trust team because of their excellent work already being achieved.

“I am looking forward to contributing and producing innovative solutions to tough problems,” she says.

Committee member Georgia Amery has worked with a number of non-profit and independent community organisations, and is a passionate advocate for equal opportunity.

“I believe in empowering all individuals to thrive and am honoured to assist women and children in need through the work of The Lady Musgrave Trust,” Ms Amery says.

The group will get together for an initial introduction to the Trust and its activities on 2 May before they start attending regular meetings and events.

The first event the Committee will be assisting with is The Lady Musgrave Trust’s Annual Forum for Women and Homelessness on Wednesday 7 August, 2019.

Find out more about The Lady Musgrave Trust and its work here.

hands together in group

The Lady Musgrave Trust Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

By | Blog, News

The Lady Musgrave Trust is establishing a Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) as a support group for the Board.  The innovative and strategic thinkers on the YAC would provide insight into a different perspective from the viewpoint of young people that would benefit the Trust’s various business functions.

Our search has now commenced for appropriate candidates, starting with a Chair.

Role of the Youth Advisory Committee

  • Periodic attendance at Board meetings (probably quarterly) to understand the strategic direction of the Board and report on outcomes from YAC discussions (YAC members will not have voting rights at Board Meetings they attend)
  • Work with the Fundraising Committee to generate and consider ideas for potential fundraising activities and provide input from the YAC perspective
  • Work with the Trust’s Marketing & Promotions service providers to enhance the use of social media options to promote the work of the Trust.
  • Generate suggestions as a group for consideration by the Board in relation to opportunities for revenue raising, promotion and advertising, recruitment of future members, training opportunities.
  • Willingness to volunteer to assist at events and to promote the events to others for volunteering as well as assisting in areas where required eg the fitout of new units.

From time to time the Board will request the YAC to undertake specific projects in relation to the activities of the Trust. These projects may include, but not be limited to, fundraising ideas, assistance with work to be done at or around the properties owned by the Trust, research into potential opportunities that are identified, general discussion on key initiatives.

Structure of the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

  • YAC will comprise of between 4 and 8 members between the ages of 18 to 30.
  • YAC will be supported and guided by 1 or 2 Board members in the initial stages.
  • Initial appointment would be for 2 years with the option of a further 2 years with agreement from both parties.
  • Position is voluntary with reimbursement of expenses occurred on behalf of the Trust.
  • Members must be interested in the Trust’s work and willing to make a contribution to furthering that work.
  • Members must be willing to volunteer for periodic fundraising or support events to further the Trust’s Members must be willing to be ambassadors for the Trust at events within their age group.
  • Members would be provided with information on the work of the Trust and internal training as required to support their membership of the YAC.

Benefits of joining the YAC

  • Opportunity to develop networks through attendance at events
  • Demonstrates willingness to undertake responsibility
  • Opportunity to develop confidence and learn new skills particularly in Board operations which could translate to future opportunities
  • Potential for consideration as a Board member

To be considered for the role, please email office@ladymusgravetrust.org.au with a one-page summary of why you think you should be selected for the role. 

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.