University of Tasmania

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Accommodation in Crisis: Forgotten Women in Western Sydney

posted on 2023-05-25, 19:59 authored by Catherine RobinsonCatherine Robinson, Searby, R

This research project set out to identify the need for crisis accommodation of single homeless women in Western Sydney. It was hoped that this need would be identified through records of requests for assistance by homeless women in the region and through interviews with service providers in contact with homeless single women. While an obvious service gap is identified in this report, it is also argued that the recognition and numeration of, and response to single women’s needs is bound up with many broader conceptual and structural difficulties, including:

  • the invisibility of single women as a category of ‘deserving’ homeless people,
  • the mismatching of crisis accommodation provision and models with likely crisis needs, and
  • the lagging development of suburban infrastructure and growth of suburban homelessness

In the Sydney region, these underpinning problems translate into a range of critical and immediate issues which shape the context of single women’s homelessness, such as:

  • the lack of a crisis accommodation facility designated for single homeless women in the Western Sydney region,
  • mounting pressure on existing inner-city accommodation services and related inner- city
  • support services in the areas of health, mental health and drug and alcohol dependence,
  • the most vulnerable of single homeless women in crisis with complex needs being most likely to be without safe accommodation,
  • a reinforcement of women’s displacement and disconnection from familiar home
  • territory and from key supports, family, health care, education and employment because of the lack of local service provision, and
  • a reinforcement of single women’s unsafe survival skills contributing to further risk, trauma, and cycles of homelessness.

The report calls for an end to community, government and service reliance on single homeless women to solve their own homelessness through resilient but unsafe survival practices. The report provides evidence of the need for the serious consideration of:

  • the immediate provision of crisis accommodation facilities for single homeless women in Western Sydney,
  • a thorough evaluation of single homeless women’s need for crisis and other affordable housing options across New South Wales,
  • a thorough evaluation of funding for existing crisis services, and a re-examination of single homeless women as a significant homeless group in Australia.


Commissioning body

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School of Social Sciences


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Place of publication

Sydney, Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Homelessness and housing services

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