FIFTY-TWO local women have turned to Myriam Cottage in times of crisis.
(Contributed by Hervey Bay RSL)
The three-bedroom house in Scarness opened in November 2016 so that women with no other place to go could feel safe in short, medium and long-term accommodation.
The house was bought and opened by Hervey Bay’s Marie Gibbon, who said it was her mother Myriam’s unfulfilled dream to buy a house to accommodate the less fortunate.
With proceeds from her mother’s estate, Myriam’s wish was granted.
“When all my siblings came to visit on the Easter after the death of our mother, I expressed my burning desire to make our mum’s dreams become a reality,” Marie said.
“They all agreed and a cottage in Hervey Bay was purchased and Myriam cottage was born.”
Most referrals come from Mental Health Unit Outpatients, Head Space, domestic violence situations, social workers, case managers and community members; with the women all homeless for reasons beyond their control.
“We have successfully supported our residents move into personal and government housing accommodation and they themselves have referred people found sleeping in cars and other less than appropriate shelters.
“Myriam Cottage is the only service providing long-term accommodation in Hervey Bay, and has a long waiting list which speaks loudly about the need for this service.
“Also needed is appropriate supportive housing for women with children.”
The cottage is run by a group of volunteers, who help the guests gain valuable life skills through cooking and cleaning classes, therapy, budgeting, self-esteem building exercises, and supporting them to find employment.
That’s where the Hervey Bay RSL has dug deep to offer its support for the not-for-profit organisation.
The home’s washing machine was beyond repair and a safety issue surrounded a tree on the land, which needed removal.
Thanks to the Hervey Bay RSL Community Grants Program, Myriam Cottage received $1900 towards covering the cost of replacing the washing machine, removing the tree and replacing the natural shade with a shade sail, which is frequently used by the ladies.
“The RSL has been supportive in providing us with necessary equipment such as a printer, and now household support like the washing machine which is excellent.
“There’s no more hassles with repairs and it’s big enough to wash essential items like doonas, sheets and towels, constantly needed in a place like ours.”
Marie said the RSL grant came at a great time, with their ability to fundraise hindered during the Covid-19 crisis.