BaptistCare HopeStreet’s Project Eve will provide a safe, welcoming and comfortable space for women experiencing homelessness in Mayfield, and open doors for them to receive further support and services.
Mary Bowyer, Manager at the Newcastle-based BaptistCare HopeStreet, says the significant renovation of the Mayfield centre’s second floor was made possible by two funding grants to the total of $90,000, and provides a vital space for women in their greatest time of need.
“Recent statistics, and indeed our experiences here at the centre, show us that more women, particularly women over 55, are experiencing homelessness as a result of a range of complex issues,” said Mary.
Domestic violence, housing crisis and financial difficulties were cited as the top three reasons for women accessing homelessness services from 2017-20181.
“We had it in our hearts to provide a safe haven for women who were sleeping in their cars, a place where they can come during the day.”
A rundown room upstairs has become a purpose-built space with kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. Mary says the best way to understand the impact of this offering is to imagine yourself homeless and sleeping in your car, or rough sleeping on the street. “Perhaps you’d have to use the toilet at McDonald's, or go to another homeless service but there's not much room. Otherwise, you could come here, it's beautiful and clean.”
“You can bring your washing, clean your clothes, use the dryer, and have a safe, hot shower. You could cook a meal, or even a cake if you want to, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee. How would you feel about that?” says Mary. "We want women to feel valued in this space."
Project Eve was made possible through two generous grants from the NSW Government. Project Eve at BaptistCare HopeStreet Mayfield officially opened in October.
The NSW Government also funded nearby BaptistCare HopeStreet Windale's Clean Start initiative, which provided people living with disadvantage with free access to laundry and shower facilities.