Servants hunts for home

2nd June, 2017

Published: Greg Gliddon, Leader Community News

A project to open a refuge for women in need is after community help to find the right building.

SERVANTS Community Housing is ready to establish a women-only refuge, but it needs help finding a site.

The Kew and Hawthorn-based rooms house service – which operates three houses and is home to 89 residents – has funding to refurbish a new home, but is struggling to find a suitable building for women in need of support.

The plea comes as a new bathroom, funded by Kew-based property developer South Haven Group, opened last week at the Servants Carrical House site in Hawthorn.

Servants chief executive Amanda Donohoe said of the current 89 residents, only seven were female.

“We had to ask ourselves why we have such a high proportion of males needing safe, affordable accommodation? Where are the single women? Surely they also have broken relationships, mental health issues or become unemployed?” Ms Donohoe said.

“We investigated, and all the support services in the area gave me the same answer – women need the housing too, but they feel unsafe living with so many men”.

Ms Donohoe said Servants was looking for a large property that could be suitable for a rooming house.

“It could be a large house, an old school boarding house, an empty aged-care centre or even an empty shell of a property,” she said.

“We have $300,000 from (Kooyong federal Liberal MP) Josh Frydenberg available to refurbish a property, but now we need the sympathetic landlord.

“So many people are finding they are being forced out of Boroondara due to high rents and real estate prices and we are experiencing the same dilemma.”

Ms Donohoe said the new bathroom was one of a series of improvements planned for the service.

“South Haven Group donated their skills and funds to completely renovate an old bathroom at Carrical House,” she said.

She said many residents had been through bad experiences with slum landlords and unsafe rooming houses and were thankful to get a room in a Servants house.