A place to call home

Earlier this year, a single parent family moved into what has become our 14th House of Hope, made possible by a generous donation from a Heidelberg couple who offered their residence at a substantially reduced rent.

Acting Manager for Housing and Homelessness, Leonie Walker, stressed the importance of these kind donations. “If you have no income and you have become homeless, a roof over your head, a warm place to sleep, and some privacy – these are your basic needs met.”

The issues facing people seeking asylum is not lost on the couple who donated the house, having housed four different families seeking asylum over a nine-year period.

Many people seeking asylum face uncertainty and financial insecurity when entering Australia, with visas often imposing working restrictions. This makes the application for asylum extremely difficult, as some must rely on people they know or crisis accommodation for a place to sleep.

“Many people seeking asylum are living in very overcrowded situations or are reliant on friends and family members who don’t have much money or many resources,” said Leonie.

In conjunction with Sanctuary, Houses of Hope provides residents with a base to build their life and contribute to their adopted community, whilst they wait for their asylum status to be granted.

“The stability provided by having somewhere to stay provides the psychological safety people seeking asylum need to deal with all the other things happening in their life,” said Leonie.

From assisting with arduous visa applications, developing work skills and experience, to negotiating the psychological issues associated with their experiences’, every House of Hope is helping to change a life.

Ongoing community support is also integral to Houses of Hope’s work. Donations such as bedding, furniture, and appliances are always welcomed.

“Assistance is always welcome. We encourage any businesses or residents who can offer employment opportunities, not only to this family but to all those who reside within our Houses of Hope, to come forward,” said Leonie.

“Employment helps enable people seeking asylum become financially independent and to move on to renting their own house in the community, so we can continue to house those most vulnerable,” said Leonie.

The 14th House of Hope will extend the number of current residents in the program to 57, including 28 children.

The need for safe and affordable housing remains high among people seeking asylum. This is clear through the number of referrals Houses of Hope receive for each vacancy. To continue to grow the service, more support is needed. If you know any individual or church community who might be interested in supporting Houses of Hope, please contact Leonie Walker on 8480 9006 or email sanctuary@baptcare.org.au