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Kingsway Community Care, an arm of Kingsway Community Church, has opened the only crisis accommodation for women with children in the Georges River area, in partnership with Georges River Council and Fresh Hope Housing.
The area in southern Sydney is among the top 10 in New South Wales for reported incidences of domestic and family violence, which appear to have mounted in connection with COVID-19 home isolation. Consequently, 23 local women, many with children, are currently homeless each night.
Brook Stewart, General Manager at Kingsway Community Care, said: “We were aware through our connections with Georges Rives Council that there weren’t a lot of services, and after some discussions the council agreed to give us a three-bedroom house to start a housing project. Women and their children will be able to stay for anywhere between three days and three months.
“The house was in a pretty bad condition so we had to come up with a vision and a plan to renovate it. I was told in a council meeting one day it would cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars and I said, ‘Well, it’s good for you guys that I believe in miracles then’.”
Not long afterwards, Brook attended a men’s breakfast run by the council and sensed the Holy Spirit prompting him to talk to the speaker, who worked for a developer. After several messaging attempts on LinkedIn, Brook met him and he was excited to be part of the project. The developer also introduced Brook to a building company who put a full-time project manager on site and emailed all their suppliers to ask for donations.
Between the council, building companies and suppliers, over $100,000 in goodwill has now been donated.
Kevin Greene, Mayor of Georges River Council, spoke at the opening, saying, “Our community has blown us away with support for the centre with donations of household items, which have helped to furnish the facility and assist families moving into more permanent accommodation.”
Fresh Hope Housing also partnered with Kingsway Community Care on this project by providing project management support from concept through to construction and soon occupancy.
Matt Young, manager of Fresh Hope Housing, said: “Fresh Hope Housing is passionate about providing essential housing for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said “We are excited to partner with Kingsway Community Care in providing a safe environment for women while they deal with the trauma of what they’ve gone through while receiving case work and support services.
Brook Steward added: “When you start a project like this you realise the only way this is going to happen is if there’s divine provision involved..”