Five new three-bedroom units will be built in Cairns to provide emergency shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence.
Access Community Housing will receive more than $1.8 million in federal government funding to help purchase land and build the units.
The new units are expected to support 46 people each year seeking emergency accommodation.
Queensland Courts data show that more than 1000 applications for domestic violence protection orders (DVOs) were made in the last year-to-date records (ending 30 April 2021).
The data constitutes a 7.2% increase from the previous year, which places Cairns as the fourth-highest Queensland region in terms of the rise of DVO applications.
Liz Brown, Access Community Housing CEO, said the investment would significantly boost the organisation’s capacity to support families escaping domestic violence.
“These properties will allow us to offer medium to long term accommodation, for families seeking a home for up to 24 months,” she told Tropic Now.
“Hopefully during that time they're then able to establish themselves and find longer term sustainable accommodation.
“We’ve seen the need for these services increase over the last 12 months with the rental crisis and issues across Cairns relating to a lack of social and affordable housing.”
Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the funding will make “a real difference” to the safety of women and children in Cairns.
"Women often stay with family and friends to escape violent situations; however, we know this is not always an available or viable option,” Mr Entsch said.
“This funding will provide vital emergency accommodation for 46 women and children in Cairns each year to escape family and domestic violence.
“These new places will not only give women and children somewhere safe to sleep but will also provide access to specialist family and domestic violence services to help create real and lasting change in their lives.”
The announcement forms part of the Federal Government’s $1.1 billion commitment to women’s safety in the 2021-22 Budget.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.