4 Jan 2016

Women's Refuge houses struggle with demand

12:15 pm on 4 January 2016

The shortage in rental housing is forcing women to stay in Women's Refuge safehouses, as they struggle to find suitable accommodation, putting more refuges under pressure.

For rent sign in front of two-storey houses.

Photo: 123RF

Women's Refuge chief executive Ang Jury said refuges across the country were struggling, and it was worse in metropolitan areas.

She said the housing crisis, difficulty accessing state houses, and the cost of private rentals contributed to the problem.

Dr Jury said most of the women who left a safehouse were dependent on welfare, and had chequered rental histories and poor credit ratings - often through no fault of their own.

She said safehouses were not suitable once an immediate crisis had passed.

"They need some stability and privacy and peace. I don't think it is an ideal situation for them to be staying more than three or four weeks, and we're closing on six weeks and sometimes a lot longer than that, depending on where in the country."