PROTEA PLACE –  Named after the protea flower, the oldest recorded botanical flower and a symbol of strength, diversity, survival, transformation and change. There is   currently no front line support service  in the region for women who may be homeless, sleeping in cars and vulnerable.  Our goal is to create a safe day space for women experiencing housing crisis by offering access showers, laundry facilities,  meals,  case management , emotional and practical support, friendship, phone charging and  internet along with direct referral to a range of health and housing  options.

Initially operating 2 days per week, our plan is to open Protea Place 7 days per week with the support of volunteers, community, businesses, government, Council, donations, corporate sponsorship and funding grants.  By providing a holistic, wrap around suite of support from the initial basic human rights of showers, healthy meals and laundry through to housing support, tenancy skills, health support, financial counselling and literacy, employment and training, we aim to tackle homelessness by creating individualised support and responses for each woman.         A Women’s Wellness Hub !!!

Stage 2 will be a training and employment Social Enterprise project to assist women back into the workforce and create pathways to be self determining and empowered into the future.  Working with a range of industries and organisations, our aim is to “Partner for Impact”  and offer a tangible and sustained  local response to the rising numbers of single women experiencing housing crisis and homelessness nationally.  Homelessness is a complex issues that requires action on all levels.  A “housing first “approach is known to create sustained solutions. But to make that happen we need more affordable housing options.  We will be making some noise and working with a variety of people to create innovative responses utilising existing resources and redeveloping and re-purposing  under utilised resources. We are looking at ways to create affordable  housing options into the future.

This project will not only benefit the women in need of support, but the long term financial impact on the local economy and community as women have improved overall health and wellbeing, are eventually able to return to the workforce and less dependant on welfare and the benefit to communities who are able to be actively involved in a worthwhile cause.   Additionally the potential to reduce presentations at the local Public Hospital ER department, as women in need have access to hygiene, health and accommodation supports through Protea Place.

Protea Place ToowoombaImage result for smiling woman in her 50's