A new year is a time for hope
Give the gift of peace and safety
For most Australians, the festive season is a time for joy and celebration. But this year, for many people it was marred by heartache and hardship.
Christmas has now passed but it’s still not too late to give a gift to our appeal, and help make this a happier new year for families who are struggling to make ends meet.
Currently more than 116,000 Australians are experiencing homelessness and hardship. Sadly, 17 per cent are children under 14.1 Domestic and family violence is the most common reason women and children experiencing homelessness seek our support, like Jenny*.
Pregnant and with two young children, Jenny fled a violent home with nothing and nowhere to go.
“We didn’t have anything, we were homeless. Then I was referred to Wesley Mission. We were offered a home where we were safe.”
Read Jenny’s full story
Jenny remembers a time when she thought the world of her husband. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she’d one day have to run from him. Then the arguments and conflict at home escalated into terrible violence. For her children’s safety and her own, she made the courageous but difficult decision to leave. No-one should go through this, but many do.
Alarmingly 2.2 million Australians have experienced physical or sexual violence perpetrated by a partner1. That’s almost half the population of Sydney. Most are women2. And often when they escape, all they have is the clothes on their backs.
So, when Jenny grabbed the kids while pregnant and fled, “we didn’t have anything,” she says. Suddenly they were experiencing homeless.
Jenny is now seeing a psychologist to support with her mental health after facing much trauma. Sometimes she’s so overcome by sadness, she’ll cry or even scream when she’s by herself, to let her feelings out.
At two, Jenny’s baby Zoey* isn’t yet aware of her family’s past, but Jenny’s eldest Mila* just turned 13. On top of the usual teenage growing pains, Mila is working through her own trauma.
“During COVID-19, when they locked down, my daughter started to harm herself. I’d worry she might do something more,” Jenny says. “She used to always cover her face with her hair, or she’d wear a hat, just hiding. She’d stay in her room with the lights off.”
“She doesn’t like to talk to me about how she’s feeling. But she’s been seeing someone as well and she’s improving. Now she’s starting to share a little bit more with me. She always says she’ll never marry. She’s afraid of men.”
However, Jenny’s little son Kian*, six, is proving himself a true gentleman. He’s the first to offer comfort when things get tough.
“My son, any time I have stress and hardship, if he sees me cry, he comes to ask me ‘are you okay mum?” Jenny says. “Just one word from him and I feel calmer.”
Kian’s kindness speaks volumes about his beautiful nature and it’s a credit to his mum.
Recently Jenny and her kids feared the worst, that they’d become homeless a second time, when they had to move out of their transitional accommodation.
But thanks to our team at Wesley Mission, we stopped at nothing to find them a new home where they could stay long term. Jenny is so thankful they had a roof over their heads at Christmas and for many years ahead.
For women and children escaping domestic violence, access to secure and affordable housing is essential to break the cycle of homelessness.
Thankfully, at Christmas, Jenny and her three children had a roof over their heads. But so many more Australians who’ve experienced domestic violence still need our support.
Please give now and help more families like Jenny’s access safe accommodation, food and counselling as they recover and rebuild.
How your gift will help
Your generosity will give ongoing comfort and hope to families in need as they rebuild their lives.
$25 can provide mobile phone credit or a travel card so a mum like Jenny can access a phone and transport.
$50 can buy toiletries for a family escaping violence.
$75 can purchase toys, books and crayons for children experiencing homelessness and hardship.
$100 can provide grocery vouchers so families don’t go hungry.
$250 can pay to change locks so families feel safe in their homes.
$350 can provide qualified financial counselling enabling families like Jenny’s to rebuild their lives.
$500 can buy a new bed and mattress for a child to rest and recover in their new home.
$1,000 can pay for a removalist to relocate a family from a violent home.
Why support Wesley Mission?
Homelessness is a serious and growing issue in Australia. At Wesley Mission, we believe every life matters and we’ve supported people experiencing homelessness for over 200 years. Your generosity means we can continue to provide quality care and services to families in need, including:
- crisis accommodation
- short-term housing
- rent assistance
- financial counselling
- emergency supplies.
Give generously and give hope for a brighter 2023
1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022
2 Specialist Homelessness Services Annual Report, 2020-21
*Names and images have been changed for privacy.