Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) hosted the launch of a newly formed community initiative The Toowoomba Women’s Foundation on Monday 24 September.

This initiative was established by a group of passionate and influential Toowoomba women who have come together to support women experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in the region. The Foundation is a community collective of skills, experience, connections, resources, commitment, vision and ambition to see tangible change and support for women. The Foundation was officially launched this morning by the Honourable Di Farmer, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.

Founded by Amanda Dalton, who has worked for 20 years in the human services sector within homelessness, housing, youth, and family support, Amanda noticed over the past 12 months the increasing number of single women without children and in particular older women experiencing homelessness.  This emerging trend is not only occurring locally but also on a national level.  2016 Census figures identified a 10 per cent increase in women experiencing homelessness and a 30 per cent increase in older women experiencing homelessness since 2011.

Amanda said the first step is Protea Place, a safe day space in a homely environment for women to access showers, wash and dry clothes, have a meal and be supported by skilled staff and volunteers to access intensive supports towards housing solutions. A grant submission for seed funding from the Queensland Government’s Dignity First Funding has been submitted which would allow the project to commence very quickly prior to Christmas, which is a time of year that causes significant distress for those experiencing homelessness. Other avenues of community support including sponsorship and in-kind contributions are under way with Toowoomba being renowned for its generosity and support for those in need.

TSBE CEO Ali Davenport said this project, with the backing of so many incredible women, is poised to change lives and provide help for those experiencing homelessness.

Readers also enjoyed our story Regional Art Awards.