St Bartholomew’s House establishes accommodation for older women, Hawaiian House

John Berger with Jennifer Bennett and Anne Haydon.
John Berger with Jennifer Bennett and Anne Haydon.

FOR Jennifer Bennett and Anne Haydon, St Bartholomew's House has provided more than a roof over their heads.

‘It’s like a family,’ Ms Haydon said.

‘I’ve been here since June 4 last year and I have so much praise for St Bart’s.’

After being forced to live on the streets for three weeks, Ms Haydon was offered accommodation by the homeless support service.

‘It was terrible ” people were fighting, taking money. I was lucky to find a place to stay so quickly,’ Ms Haydon said.

‘But there are just so many older people on the street who aren’t as lucky.’

Mrs Bennett has been living in a friend’s caravan and is on the waiting list for accommodation at St Bart’s.

‘I went from having everything that I thought was worthwhile to having nothing,’ Ms Bennett said.

‘St Bart’s have given me emotional support, friendship and I hope I will have a place there to call my own soon.’

WA’s first transitional accommodation for older women, Hawaiian House, opened last week and aims to do just that.

Stage One of the East Perth facility will provide 36 newly refurbished rooms close to vital support services for older women experiencing or at serious risk of homelessness.

St Bart’s chief executive John Berger said women aged over 55 had become the fastest growing demographic of homeless people in WA and until now there had not been an accommodation facility to cater for them.

‘As the cost of living continues to rise and the employment market continues to tighten, we are experiencing increased demand for our services so this accommodation is extremely significant for St Bart’s,’ Mr Berger said.

The second stage of St Bart’s $15 million Brown Street project will include more than 70 new studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

St Bart’s is still raising funds for Stage 2.

To make a donation, visit www.stbarts.org.au.