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The Women’s & Girls’ Emergency Centre Inc needs our support

WAGEC is a unique women’s only service in Surry Hills which has been providing support to homeless women and girls for the past 29 years reports the South Sydney Herald in its November 2006 edition.

From its original service provision of a shopfront referral service, it has expanded to become a drop in centre, which is case management focussed and working towards women’s empowerment and self-determination in their life decisions.

The service provides meals, washing facilities, showers, day beds, clothing and material assistance such as toiletries as well as case management services.

It provides services for approximately 20 women per day and is open Monday to Friday 9.30am-4.00pm.

The women who are supported are predominantly long-term homeless women, who have little family and community support. Many of the women have had transient lifestyles, impacted by issues such as domestic violence, history of sexual assault, mental ill-health, drug and alcohol use, and come from a variety of diverse backgrounds.

For many of these homeless women, the centre provides one of the only accessible support services for women only during the day, where they can access basic necessities with dignity and safety.

Coordinator Lara Sabbadin speaks of exciting changes that have been, and will be happening, within the centre. “There have been many changes at WAGEC over the years, however I believe this year has been one of the most progressive in its history.

We have been working hard to build community partners to increase access to a variety of services which has been previously unavailable here.”

“This year we have been granted additional funding from DOCS, to support homeless Transgendered women overcome barriers of accessing services and we are working strongly with the Gender Centre to provide appropriate and integrated support for these clients. We have been successful with two grants through the City of Sydney to enable us to establish a Transgender women’s support group, which we will be running in conjunction with the Gender

Centre, as well as an advisory group to increase community development and identification of gaps for homeless Transgendered women.” Sabbadin says.

Clients of the service want to increase the public’s awareness of what WAGEC brings to their lives also:

“I like the help you can get from the staff in every area.” Anita says “I like the company of the girls – that’s why I like coming here. I feel safe within the environment because it’s all female – I don’t feel threatened. I like that you are not allowed to do drinking & drugs at the service – that makes me feel secure. I do have a drinking problem, and yet by coming here – I haven’t been drinking. Even my partner feels safe with it being an ‘all women’s service’.

Taja has been coming to the service for nearly two years, “and it’s the most stable and comfortable environment thus far; and I find that the staff are more empathetic, more caring and more willing to learn. Women’s and Girls’ is becoming a sanctuary for troubled women to find solace with sincerity and honour”.

You can contact WAGEC to find out more about services on, if you are interested in the tansgendered women’s support group, or if you are wanting to support the service in any way on 9360 5388. WAGEC’s AGM will be held on the 28th of November and the public are encouraged to actively get involved to support our community.

[South Sydney Herald November 2006]