New life away from violence

November 25, 2016

A Shepparton mother and her two children are safe thanks to a housing assistance plan for domestic violence victims.

Life has not been easy for Shepparton’s Alice Kennedy* (not her real name) but things are looking up now she has somewhere safe to live with her young family. 

As a child, Ms Kennedy bounced from foster home to foster home until she eventually came to live in Shepparton. 

Sadly she found herself in love with a man who abused her and she was given two choices: stay with him and have her two children taken away from her or leave him and start a new life with her family. 

Thanks to support from VincentCare’s Marian Community and Rural Housing Network, Ms Kennedy was able to begin her life again and has now received a house to live in thanks to the Victorian Government’s Rural Housing Assistance Fund.

The initiative was announced in September this year and allowed Rural Housing Network to successfully buy 10 properties, including six in Greater Shepparton.

‘‘We weren’t expecting anything like this to happen so quickly,’’ Ms Kennedy said.

‘‘It will definitely help us, all the kids will have their own room and its much bigger and there’s more space.’’

Victorian Housing, Disability and Ageing Minister Martin Foley said homelessness was not just an issue in the city, but also impacted many people across rural and regional Victoria.

‘‘After meeting Alice in September, I am so pleased to hear that she will be housed through our Rapid Housing Assistance Fund,’’ Mr Foley said.

‘‘We know that once you provide a roof over a person’s head, access to the services they need — they then have every opportunity to get back on their feet.

‘‘We learnt from the success of rapid housing when assisting women and children fleeing family violence — we are now applying the same approach for those experiencing homelessness.’’

Ms Kennedy said having a home to live in with her two children, partner and his two children would allow there to be stability in their lives.

‘‘I’m very grateful for all the support and help we got,’’ she said.

Ms Kennedy said she was looking at going to TAFE to continue her education once her family was properly settled in their new home.

When it came to family violence, she said it was important for women to think about their safety.

‘‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help,’’ she said.

‘‘Just get away as soon as possible, don’t be afraid to just up and leave, think about your own safety as well as your kids.’’

If you are experiencing family violence or know someone that is, phone VincentCare on 58219458, Primary Care Connect on 58233200, FamilyCare on 58237000, Rumbalara 58200000 or the National Helpline on 1800 RESPECT.

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