Agile Community Support for Women

Launch Housing East St Kilda (LHESK) is a small site passionately committed to supporting women experiencing homelessness.  It’s one of the few housing services in Victoria that employs and accommodates only women as well as offers services to trans and gender diverse individuals who identify as female.

LHESK’s agile approach makes it a unique place for women experiencing homelessness and trauma as they connect with services such as crisis accommodation, transitional support, long-term accommodation and vitally important case management service all from a feminist standpoint.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals 63% of people accessing Victorian specialist homelessness services are women.

The East St. Kilda site has a proud history of assisting women in Melbourne since 1995, and annually it helps more than 130* women. Fifteen rooms are available for women in crisis, including one that is pet-friendly as part of the new Pets in Crisis Accommodation Project at Launch Housing.

To help women obtain stable housing, LHESK connects clients to health services and other therapies as women who come to the site have often experienced a traumatic event such as domestic violence.

The latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals more than 109,000 clients were assisted by specialist homelessness services in Victoria from 2016-17. Of those requesting assistance 44% cited domestic and family violence as the reason for seeking support from services.

The LHESK support team includes five skilled and energetic case managers, four after hours support workers, a coordinator, an admin/wellbeing officer and a passionate site manager focused on achieving the best outcomes of women in the community.

The resolute and passionate East St. Kilda Site Manager Clara says, “We are one of a few women only sites in Melbourne and working here gives us insight into how vulnerable this group is. When you sit with the clients you can see similarities in their stories even though each story is unique.”

For Clara the small site is every bit a temporary home for women in the community, and she’s passionate about providing a respectful and dignified service to all who come seeking support.

*Statistic provided by Launch Housing administration team.