FUNDING offered to develop an information app to help women experiencing homelessness to more easily find the essential services they need.
FUNDING offered to develop an information app to help women experiencing homelessness to more easily find the essential services they need. Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

New app to tackle issue of women's homelessness

QUEENSLAND'S oldest charity is moving into the digital age with a boost from the State Government's Dignity First Fund.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said The Lady Musgrave Trust received $50,000 through the fund's first round to develop and deliver an information app to help women experiencing homelessness to more easily find the essential services they need.

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"The Lady Musgrave Trust has published the Brisbane Handy Guide for Homeless Women since 2011," Mr de Brenni said.

"The guide lists a broad range of services essential to women experiencing homeless- ness, including accommodation, food, welfare support and legal advice," he said.

"With the help of this funding, the Trust has developed an app for mobiles and computers to bring the guide online, making it more accessible to women who need it.

"To complement this, the Trust also plans to increase circulation of the Handy Guides across Queensland, from 7000 booklets a year to 18,000.

"This information is vital for anyone experiencing homelessness so they can find the support they need."

The Lady Musgrave Trust chief executive officer Karen Lyon Reid said the Dignity First Funding for The Handy Guide would have an immediate impact in addressing problems many homeless women face day to day.

"The Handy Guide is one of the most important documents we produce," Ms Lyon Reid said.

"It contains emergency contacts, sheltered accommodation support, legal services, health and nutrition services and counselling for homeless women," Ms Lyon Reid said.

"Prior to the additional funding, The Lady Musgrave Trust could only afford to print copies of The Handy Guide for Homeless Women in Brisbane.

"Distribution relied on the support of local hospital services, Queensland Police, women's prisons, hundreds of community organisations and homelessness support workers.

"Thanks to the support of the Queensland Government and the crucial funding it has provided, we have been able to develop an electronic version of The Handy Guide, making vital social services accessible to as many people in need as possible," she said.

Mr de Brenni said the Dignity First Fund was established in 2016 to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness through the hard times.

The Handy Guide is one of the projects proposed by 23 organisations that made successful applications for support to the Dignity First Fund," Mr de Brenni said. 

"Homelessness is a complex issue which requires a sophisticated response.

"But while we work toward longer term solutions, there are many wonderful community organisations like The Lady Musgrave Trust who are helping people to live with dignity.

"Everyone has the right to live with dignity," he said.

These projects give us an opportunity to show vulnerable members of our community that they have not been forgotten and that we are working to help them out of this situation."

The second round of Dignity First funding opens on March 15. Individuals and groups can register interest at www.hpw.qld.gov.au.


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