Donations turn houses into homes for the vulnerable
Our work with this national not-for-profit allows them to support some of the country's most vulnerable women.
YWCA Australia is a feminist not-for-profit focused on working towards a future where gender equality is a reality for young women, women and people of marginalised genders.
YWCA Canberra has been providing essential services to women and families in the local community for almost 80 years. Its dedicated housing support unit has helped countless women and their families find accommodation, many of whom are fleeing domestic and family violence.
Demand for YWCA services is always high, but during COVID it has only increased. Family Case Manager Tamsin O'Rourkce says the pandemic limited the options for women at risk of homelessness.
"Where normally people might go couchsurfing, people wouldn't go into each other's homes. That led to people not having anywhere to go.
Canberrans dig deep
YWCA were recently able to secure accomodation for some women and families left homeless during the pandemic. However, four walls and a roof do not a home make, and furnishing the accommodation was another challenge altogether.
With the help of generous Canberrans, GIVIT has helped YWCA fit out the properties with many household essentials such as beds and linen, fridges, washing machines, coffee tables, tv units and other furniture.
One single mother and her two children arrived in Canberra with no belongings aside from the clothing on their backs. Through GIVIT, the family received a double bed, bed sheets, quilt covers, pillows, towels, a washing machine and a baby cot.
But donations have not been limited to typical household goods. A single mother escaping domestic violence received four Officeworks vouchers worth $80 to purchase back-to-school packs for her children.
And for another family transitioning from homelessness, three kids’ bike helmets have been the perfect housewarming gift.
"With the help of GIVIT, we were really able to help people just get themselves established and move on," Tamsin from YWCA says. "Kids were able to focus more on school. We had some women who have been able to go back into the workforce."
The beds helped unimaginably in contributing towards the wellbeing of my children and me. It was a financial help as I couldn't afford beds as I escaped domestic violence. And it was a logistical help in the peak of COVID-19.
The beds gave so much joy to my children and gave them a safe place to play, create and sleep.
Community steps up in Victoria
In Melbourne, YWCA was refurbishing a rooming house for older women, home to 27 women experiencing hardship such as homelessness, domestic and family violence and mental ill-health. To make its laundry as accessible and inclusive as possible, YWCA were looking to replace their old, coin-operated washing machines with brand new, free-to-use units.
A local small business saw the GIVIT request on social media, and stepped up to donate all three washing machines!
GIVIT received a lovely thank you message from the house's residents - "A very big thank you, we're so grateful! We're saving money and are able to keep our clothes better. It makes such a difference that we don't have to save up our washing to do it. We don't have to go to the laundromat anymore. It's very kind of you to donate such great washing machines. Thank you!"
GIVIT directs efforts to support domestic violence survivors
Following the horrific murder of Hannah Baxter (nee Clarke) early this year, GIVIT has directed a large portion of its efforts toward the coordination of donations to help domestic violence survivors re-establish their lives, families and homes.