Meekatharra women and children affected by family and domestic violence will soon have a safe place to call home as part of an upcoming emergency housing initiative. In partnership with the Shire of Meekatharra, Mission Australia has plans to lease four units which would be used as medium-term lodging for vulnerable locals. The units are currently vacant and are in need of repair, with the project to involve renovation of the homes and installation of appropriate security. Mission Australia Mid West and Gascoyne area manager Joy Norton said there was a significant demand for longer-term housing solutions for people at risk of domestic and family violence in Meekatharra. “In regional, rural and remote areas there is a severe shortage of available housing to rent which means women and children often stay in homes where they experience violence to avoid becoming homeless,” she said. “Nyarlu Duwa (formerly Meekatharra Women’s Refuge) provides a very important place for women to find shelter and a safe haven from immediate threats to their safety; however, a longer term solution is needed. “The homes will provide a secure haven for those most at risk and will include on-site case management and wraparound support services.” Ms Norton said Mission Australia was in the early stages of securing funding for the property renovations and would continue to work with the Shire and Meekatharra community as the project progressed. “We will be seeking community input regarding the service design and use of these units to ensure we have the right approach to serving the community,” she said. Contact 1800RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling service, on 1800 737 732, 24 hours a day.