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Homeless Forum

The Hidden Homeless forum in the Hills is a must for those concerned about the lack of affordable housing in the area and the growing number of homeless women.

The event is this Wednesday, 25th October at Castle Hill RSL and is being organised by The Soroptimist International (SI), an international network of clubs with a focus on improving the lives of women and girls.

Club President, Cathy Tracey told the Hills to Hawkesbury Community News: “We are concerned about the continued rapid growth in the North West of Sydney. The cost of housing, rent and living costs are skyrocketing and no doubt these pressures are contributing to family breakdown and homelessness.

“There is a serious lack of transitional, social and a ffordable housing in the Hills District despite significant housing development projects.”

Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot released earlier this year showed that a single woman on the Age Pension can afford less than 1% of rental listings across Australia. That includes those on the highest rate of rent assistance.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said: “Every woman should have a safe and affordable home. It prevents homelessness, protects families from violence, and promotes equality.

She said: “Building social housing is the most powerful way to keep older women in secure housing, and stop them from getting trapped in a cycle of homelessness.”

Money raised by the forum will go towards the Kenthurst Women’s Transitional Housing Project which is providing a safe haven for older women at risk.

The event Forum will be chaired by Emeritus Mayor Michelle Byrne who started the Hills Homeless Sleep out 10 years ago to highlight the plight of people forced to couch surf and sleep in cars or overcrowded houses.

She said : “Older women are one of the fastest growing cohorts of homeless people in our country. They are often well hidden, sleeping in cars or couch surfing. This forum aims to shine a light on the issues older women who are homeless are facing and to advocate on their behalf. More needs to be done to find solutions for housing affordability and homelessness.

Homeless Forum
Speakers annabelle daniel ceo women’s community shelters and bev baker from the older women’s network at the packed 2020 forum

“I encourage everyone to attend, to learn more about homelessness and to help us find solutions that ensure all women over the 55 have a permanent safe roof over their heads.”

Guest speakers include Bev Baker from the Older Women’s Network and Annabelle Daniel CEO Women’s Community Shelters who both spoke at the last Forum held in March 2020.

They quoted Australian Bureau of Statistics figures that showed there were more than 6,400 homeless people aged 55 and over in NSW on census night in 2016, of those, 2,186 were women — a rise of 48 per cent. When it came to women aged 65 to 74, the increase was 78 per cent.

That forum was attended by Dennis Van Someren and James Visione who have since successfully lobbied for a house owned by Uniting to be used by the Kenthurst Women’s Transitional Housing Project.

They will speak about the project at the Forum as will a representative from – Housing Services I Western Sydney Nepean Blue Mountains District

The Hidden Homelessness Forum which will be a night of education and advocacy.

For more information visit the Soroptimist International of The Hills District Facebook page and to book tickets go to

The Soroptimist International (SI) organisation is an international network of clubs with a focus on improving the lives of women and girls.

The SI of the Hills District Club has been active in the Hills local area for 43 years with a focus on raising awareness on domestic violence issues and homelessness for older women. COVID prevented it following up its successful 2020 Homelessness forum until this year.

Bev Jordan

Bev Jordan studied journalism at Harlow College in the UK.  She achieves a Diploma in Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists. After migrating to Australia at the end of 1984, she took up a Senior Journalist position with Cumberland Newspapers, based on the Parramatta Advertiser. She has since worked on the Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and was a lecturer in Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney. Bev returned to Cumberland Newspapers (NewsLocal) and worked for 30 years covering all different mastheads, including Mosman Daily, Mount Druitt Standard and finally Hills Shire Times for the last 17 of those years. Bev’s passion has always been local community journalism.  She says “As a journalist, I have always seen it as my job to inform, inspire and involve.  I am a passionate advocate for organisations and people making a difference to the world around them. Connectedness is so important to the health of an individual but also to a community, no matter how small or large.

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