As we head into the colder months, most of us will turn on the heater and let the warmth fill our homes. We will feel safe, warm, and comfortable.
But for the growing number of women and children experiencing violence at home, this is not their reality.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Western Australia, and in the past two years, many emergency shelters and support services are left unable to cope. In winter, things only get worse.
Vinnes WA Manager of Homelessness Services, Niamh Kiely said homelessness can happen to anyone.
“It’s really important to be empathetic and kind. Anyone can experience homelessness – all it takes is just a small change in your circumstances,” he said.
We’ve partnered with Vinnies WA to bring you some practical ways to help those experiencing homelessness this winter.
Donate to the Vinnies Winter Appeal
Funds raised through the Vinnies Winter Appeal go directly toward helping women and children who are forced out of their homes due to domestic violence. Your donation can help provide basics like food and toiletries or emergency accommodation to give them a chance to escape violence and stop them from experiencing the trauma of sleeping on the streets.
Share social media posts
Sharing posts about homelessness is an easy, yet helpful thing to do, simply because it increases awareness. By sharing a post, you can bring the issue to the forefront of people’s minds. “I would encourage you to discuss the topic of homelessness with your friends and family. Seek to educate yourself and actively assist in breaking down stereotypes and stigma related to homelessness. Homelessness does not discriminate,” Ms Kiely said.
Host a fundraiser
One of the most valuable ways to show your support and contribute towards real and positive change is by fundraising. This winter, Vinnies is asking you to get involved and hold a Sleepout in your community. Grab your Vinnies Community Sleepout Kit (a step-by-step guide to holding your own Sleepout) and raise some vital funds to help support women and children experiencing homelessness.
Volunteer with Vinnies
“Of course, you can also volunteer at charities like Vinnies WA,” Ms Kiely said. The Vinnies Support Centre in Joondalup is a new community-based space that provides emergency assistance and practical support to anyone in need. You can apply to be a volunteer at the Support Centre online.
Donate to the Vinnies WA Winter Appeal to give more women and children the chance to escape violence. Visit the website to find out more.