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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. 

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.

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

 

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.