For nearly thirty years, Virginia has worked with YWCA in our Homelessness Services in Sydney. Her passion for giving back to her community saw a career change from private real estate management to doing a social work degree part-time – all while bringing up a family as a single parent!
Virginia first joined YWCA as a part-time social worker to develop the YWCA Emergency Accommodation Service for young women who were pregnant or who had dependent children and were experiencing homelessness.
“This program was originally unfunded. Over the years, we’ve developed and expanded the program and the funding base, and we’ve also developed related programs to add to the range of supports we can provide to our clients,” she says.
Today in the Sydney metro region, YWCA has a range of Homelessness Services offering early intervention and rapid response approaches, as well as longer-term case management support for those with high and complex needs.
After nearly thirty years working in this field, Virginia is more dedicated than ever to her work.
“I am passionate about stopping the intergenerational transmission of the debilitating and wide-ranging impact of domestic and family violence on mothers and their children.”
“The past three decades has reinforced for me the strong relationship between experiences of domestic and family violence and disadvantage and vulnerability. It can lead to poor self-esteem and confidence, physical and psychological health problems, poverty, early exit from education, and more.”
“A safe home for the families I work with is only the beginning of the client-centred, flexible, wide-ranging support required to help them break the cycle of disadvantage.”
A vocal advocate for social justice, she wants to see greater investment into social services that support people facing multiple barriers and challenges in their lives.
“Homelessness doesn’t occur in a vacuum. If we want to address homelessness, we need to look at properly funding not only affordable housing developments, but also increasing funding to address domestic violence, both after it happens and primary prevention education. Funding for mental health services, affordable quality childcare, and drug and rehabilitation services are just as needed as well.”
When asked what keeps her motivated, Virginia smiled and said “The biggest reward is knowing that you’ve made a positive difference in the course of someone’s life. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to play a role in supporting thousands of women and their families. I’ll be here as long as I can continue to make a difference!”
For more information about YWCA’s Homelessness Services in Sydney metro, please click here.