READER STEPS IN – TO SAVE REFUGE

A transitional housing program for women and children experiencing domestic abuse has been saved from closing this week by a benefactor who read about its imminent closure in the Hills to Hawkesbury News.

Bev Jordan’s story on the closure of the house, run by the Lisa Harnum Foundation in the Hills, at the end of August due to the rental cost was read by Hills woman in a doctor’s surgery in Dural. She immediately called Executive Director of the Lisa Harnum Foundation, Aileen Mountifield, saying her Family Foundation would like to help. The gesture has saved the transitional housing option for women fleeing domestic violence Hills by providing the rent for the next 12 months.

The Lisa Harnum Foundation filled the gap for transitional housing in the Hills three years ago when the St Michael’s refuge in Baulkham Hills closed its doors.

Mrs Mountifield said there were tears all round when she told the families currently in the house that it would no longer be closing. The decision to close the house was made because of the annual rent of $35,000.

Mrs Mountifield said: “I received a phone call from the donor who had read Bev’s story re the house whilst waiting in a doctor’s surgery.

“As a result, the Lisa Harnum Foundation received a cheque for a full year’s rent – $35,360.

“I, along with my staff and board, are absolutely delighted by this generous donation. Women currently being supported in our transitional house broke down and cried, knowing that they did not have to leave before they were ready to do so,” she said. “We are so, so grateful to the donor. You are amazing.”

As well has the house the Lisa Harnum Foundation has also funds two case workers who also see women through the Safe Room project in both Castle Towers and Macquarie Shopping Centres.

It is now about to open a third Safe Room in Parramatta Westfield.

The aim of the Safe Room project is to provide a safe space for women to meet a case worker without arousing suspicion of where they are.

“The Safe Room provides with women safety, and privacy, in a shopping centre which doesn’t attract any suspicion.”

“A phone call to 1300 732 848 goes directly to a caseworker’s mobile who will talk to her and arrange to meet her somewhere in the shopping centre before taking her to the safe room.”

“It’s bringing women out who would normally not seek help,” she said.

For details about the LHF projects visit lisahf.org.au