The Toowoomba community has come together to support Protea Place, a safe day space for women experiencing homelessness.
Toowoomba Community Engagement Officer Kat Murphy and her colleagues at the Department of Human Services have donated sanitary products and good quality work clothes to help build confidence and show vulnerable women they matter.
Kat was impressed by the new centre, run by the Toowoomba Women’s Collective, when she first discovered it at this year’s Toowoomba Homelessness Week Expo.
“One of the fastest growing groups of people experiencing homelessness is middle-aged single women,” Kat said.
“This group has a unique set of barriers to finding accommodation and it’s great that here in Toowoomba we have an organisation dedicated to helping them.”
Amanda Dalton from the Toowoomba Women’s Collective could see services just weren’t available for vulnerable women in her region – and she decided to do something about it. She said every donation they receive is something they don’t have to buy, which means more money to spend on Protea Place.
“The donations from Kat and the Toowoomba Service Centre staff make a huge difference,” Amanda said.
“Our goal is to create a safe day space for women experiencing housing crisis by offering access to things like showers, toiletries and laundry facilities. All those costs add up.
“We also provide meals, phone charging and internet access as well as direct referral to a range of health and housing options.”
Kat Murphy said it’s great to visit Protea Place and see the community come together to support those in need. She spends the majority of her time at work with local groups to ensure vulnerable people have access to government support and services.
“I work with people experiencing vulnerability or who may have complex issues, who find it difficult to access our online services, call centre or service centres,” Kat said.
Amanda from Protea Place said she’s been overwhelmed by the wonderful support from the Toowoomba community.
“Kat and her colleagues help with donated goods, some tradies have donated time and services. The mayor of Toowoomba has even chosen us as the charity he’s supporting through sales of candles and programs at this year’s Mayoral Carols by Candlelight event.
“Together we really are making a difference supporting local women to find their dignity again and most importantly, to let them know….they matter.”