The Need

Sometimes families lose their way.

According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, homeless families looking for accommodation are being turned away from shelters because of a shortage of beds. The report found that up to 80% of new applications for temporary housing by couples who have children are unable to be met on a daily basis. According to the 2006 Census, 12,133 children under 12 were homeless on census night.

Most often, children are the innocent and most tragic victims when their parents’ problems impact upon the entire family. This can also lead to a cycle of destruction when those children become teenagers and adults who do not know how to live well or what it is to be part of a family

“It can’t truthfully be said that our society is just and cohesive unless we work to help those families in our communities who face the biggest challenges in staying healthy together.” Rick Mapperson, Co-founder and CEO, Breakthrough House

What is a “family at risk”?

Some families face seemingly insurmountable problems on a daily basis. These are often multiple and complex and include unemployment, poor mental health, crime, domestic violence or substance abuse. These issues may be long standing or the family may be identified as being at risk of facing them.

The tragic statistics of families in crisis

In 2009:

  • 150 children from NSW families known to DOCS, died.
  • 55% of these children lived in homes affected by domestic violence.
  • 79,000 Australian children were homeless.
  • 200,000 women in Australia went to shelters to escape domestic violence.