Houses of Hope offers further homes

Baptcare has opened its 12th and 13th Houses of Hope for people seeking asylum, thanks to generous contributions from the local community.

Six women who are not eligible for government income support will now have homes and access to employment opportunities while awaiting the outcome of their protection visa applications.

One home has been provided by a couple who leased their 3-bedroom Parkville apartment to Baptcare for nil rent, and the second by Collins Street Baptist Church who leased a 3-bedroom apartment in Melbourne’s CBD at a very reduced rent.

For the couple, being on the Board of a homelessness service brought to their attention the fact that people seeking asylum are at a great risk of homelessness. They believe that by offering the apartment above their garage they can help do something to aid the situation.

Houses of Hope Coordinator, Leonie Walker, said it is through these kinds of partnerships that the transition from seeking asylum to contributing community member is made possible.

“Our clients are resourceful, resilient people with a lot to contribute to the Australian community. Our Houses of Hope offer safe, suitable and secure housing to vulnerable people and families who otherwise face homelessness.

“They provide a stable foundation so that people seeking asylum – many with no government or financial support – are able to access pathways to education, employment and independence,” said Leonie.

Collins Street Baptist Church have a long history of assisting people seeking asylum. The current caretakers of the church facilities are a couple who came to Australia seeking asylum more than 15 years ago.

Leonie said providing hospitality and engaging in avenues to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives is part of Collins Street Baptist Church’s DNA.

“For close to a decade, Collins Street Baptist Church have hosted the Verandah Cafe, a place of hospitality on the steps of their building. This café reaches out to overseas students and offers people the chance to volunteer within the hospitality field. Hopefully those who live within this donated apartment can take up similar opportunities to aid with their integration into their new community,” said Leonie.

Our Houses of Hope program currently supports 23 adults and 23 children who are seeking asylum and have been homeless. The need for safe and affordable housing is high among people seeking asylum, as we often receive at least three referrals for every vacancy. To continue to provide this service 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 .