A new accommodation facility will provide stable transitional housing for Aboriginal women who are exiting prison and facing homelessness, following a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.
The Labor Government invested $840,000 towards the Aboriginal Women’s Transitional Housing Facility, which aims to reduce the incarceration rates of Aboriginal women who remain overrepresented in the justice system.
The facility includes six one-bedroom units and has capacity for some of the units to have access to a second bedroom to accommodate mothers who are entering the facility with their children.
The Government partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Aboriginal Housing Victoria to develop the project and design a culturally responsive intensive case management service for Aboriginal women on-site.
Residents will not only have the chance to live independently in a stable environment, but also have access to a case manager to address their physical and mental, social and emotional wellbeing, and legal and financial needs.
The goal of the initiative is to give women a positive and actionable plan for their future, reducing recidivism rates and creating a safer community.
The Victorian Budget 2019/20 invested $93.2 million in dedicated to programs and services focused on keeping high risk people out of the justice system, with $20 million invested towards reducing the incarceration of women.
This investment includes programs targeted at women in prison with a mental illness, intellectual disability or cognitive impairment, in addition to reducing the incarceration rates of Aboriginal women.
As noted by Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll
“The Aboriginal Women’s Transitional Housing Facility will give vulnerable women a real opportunity to turn their lives around and get the support they need to live positive and productive lives.”
“We need to support women in our prison system who have encountered family violence, sexual abuse and trauma, which is why we are committing significant resources towards expanding mental health services.”
As noted by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gavin Jennings
“We’ll continue to work towards reduce the incarceration rates of Aboriginal women by improving housing, legal and employment support and programs focused on families.”