Orana House tackles myths

Orana outreach workers celebrate the milestone.

BAYSWATER-BASED women’s refuge Orana House has marked a milestone of helping 10 families escape violence and get into rental housing.

Housing the families was an uphill battle against a lack of affordable housing and landlords who are reluctant to take on tenants who’ve fled family domestic violence. 

Orana House has operated as a shelter and support service for 30 years but last year started a pilot “Housing Families Project” to get landlords and property managers to take on domestic violence survivors as tenants. 

The lack of affordable rental properties has led to a bottleneck in the refuge system across Perth, and women and children are spending a year in Orana’s refuge and transitional homes while waiting for housing.

Orana’s run extensive surveys which found their clients faced constant discrimination in the rental market; 88 per cent of landlords admitted they didn’t want family domestic violence survivors. Many fear the perpetrator might locate the survivor and damage the property. 

Orana’s research showed that was “highly unlikely”, but the project offers $1000 grants to cover rental arrears and property damage to give landlords peace of mind.  

“These women make dream tenants; They are houseproud and meticulously clean,” Orana House’s housing project officer Erin Hegarty said in an announcement this week, issued to mark news the state government would allocate 

$150,000 from a Commonwealth partnership so the project could continue for another 12 months. 


“How do we know? Because they’ve lived in our properties for extended periods and we see how they live. We know how much they cherish a safe place to call home.”

Family and domestic violence, minister Simone McGurk said “family and domestic violence takes a profound and long-term toll on women’s health and wellbeing, on families and communities, and on society as a whole”.

The Housing Families Project still has 20 families waiting on its registry, with hopes that once word spreads that the pilot’s worked out well more property owners will come forward to register their rental via orana.net. au/housing-families

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