Melissa - National Homelessness Week, 2017

Another image as part of National Homelessness Week, 2017.

This is Melissa, who has been living at the 24/7 Street Kitchen and Safe Space in Martin Place. The Space was originally set up with a specific focus on supporting homeless women, who are the most vulnerable cohort of people living on the streets, next to children.

According to Homelessness Australia, 44% of all homeless people in Australia are female. Nearly a quarter of all homeless people say that domestic and family violence is the reason they are homeless, and nearly all those people are women.

Under the NSW State Government's Going Home Staying Home program that targeted women's refuges, 336 individual services were 'consolidated' into 149, resulting in nearly 80 homelessness services being lost. Women experiencing domestic violence were at the forefront of these changes.

Since yesterday's negotiations between the NSW State Government, the City of Sydney Council and the 24/7 Street Kitchen and Safe Space, the agreement that promised new accomodation for these homeless people has been reneged, leading to the State Government initiating special powers legislation that will allow police to dismantle the Safe Space by force. The legislation is expected to pass by Friday.

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