Houses of Hope opens fourth home

Houses of Hope opens fourth home

Baptcare has opened its fourth House of Hope for people seeking asylum, thanks to the generous contribution of two local members of the community.

A couple, who wish to remain anonymous, have leased their Footscray property to Houses of Hope for a two year period, at 35 per cent of the market rent.

Houses of Hope Project Coordinator, Leonie Walker said she was heartened to see such generosity in our community.

“I’m so encouraged to know that there are people in the community who are prepared to give so generously,” she said.

For the couple, they were keen to live out their faith in a practical way.

"We realise how blessed we are to have been born in country where we can take our safety and security for granted and that is something we wanted to share," they said.

"We also believe that God has great compassion for the disadvantaged and wants us to provide a practical welcome and hospitality to those who need it most."

The two bedroom unit is already home to two young women seeking asylum. Both women currently don’t have an income and are supported by the Red Cross with casework and emergency relief.

“(Both women) were very relived to move into the property – one young woman was in crisis accommodation for several weeks, while the other was living in friend’s garage until she was asked to leave,” Leonie said.

“When they moved into the property they were also welcomed by a cupboard full of food donated by members of the Footscray Baptist Church and Ascot Vale Church of Christ.”

Safe and affordable housing is essential to our health and emotional wellbeing, according to Leonie, who added that it was central to living an independent life.

“For people with no income, you’re reliant on people in your social network to support you. Most people seeking asylum either have limited social networks or the people in their social networks are living in poverty themselves.”

Our Houses of Hope and Sanctuary programs currently support 84 adults and five children who are seeking asylum and have been homeless. The need for safe and affordable housing is high among this clientele, as we often receive at least three referrals for every vacancy.

We're currently urgently looking for more properties to lease at no rent or at a reduced rate, particularly in the Ashburton, Glen Iris, Warrandyte, Preston, Coburg and Brunswick areas.

If you know any church community or individual who might be interested in supporting Houses of Hope, please contact Leonie Walker on 8480 9004 or sanctuary@baptcare.org.au.