Lucky that my children were safe; lucky that I have so many wonderful friends and family; and lucky that although I was somewhat ‘homeless’, I still had somewhere safe, warm and dry to live while we rebuilt our house.
Sadly, so many Queenslanders are not so lucky. Dr Cameron Parsell of UQ who’s PhD focuses on homelessness tells me that homelessness in Brisbane is on the rise, and turn-away rates at Brisbane crisis accommodation centres are at an all-time high.
With the availability of crisis accommodation in Brisbane far exceeding the demand, often women with their dependent children are turned away to seek unsafe and unsatisfactory shelter wherever they can find it – in our parks and under our bridges.
Homelessness disproportionately affects women and the consequences can stretch beyond housing as women are so often forced to endure dangerous and abusive situations.
Second Chance Program Fundraising Group is an organisation trying to change this.
They specifically raise money to help women off Brisbane’s streets and give them a ‘second chance’ to take charge of their lives. Second Chance has already helped create over 350 beds for women over the past decade, and is run solely by a group of professional Queensland women working pro bono.
Apart from the insurance they have to pay, every cent raised goes to the cause – their model is that simple.
Second Chance has an excellent track record with approximately 80% of homeless women they help never returning to homelessness again.
In 2011 Second Chance has an ambitious goal of helping 500 women who would otherwise be homeless with a ‘’Bridge the Gap’’ rental program, an expansion of their most successful model yet. They pay the rental-gap between what women can afford and what needs to be paid. It’s often the difference between gaining a home and sleeping rough.
What can you do? Well, you can come and have some fun with me by buying a ticket to the Second Chance annual fundraiser ‘Swing into Spring’ next Friday 9th September. All funds raised go directly to the cause.
To book tickets, or to make a donation please go to www.secondchanceprogramme.com.au