With funding from the Mercy Foundation’s Grants to End Homelessness program, this initiative addresses chronic homelessness for people seeking asylum, including women and children who were chronically homeless and women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.
Mercy Circles of Hope is a community-based partnership model of support, offering free or very reduced rental accommodation, support and friendship to people seeking asylum.
The expectation was to support 20 – 25 men, women and chidren seeking asylum by building four new Circles of Hope.
According to Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski from Romero, “People seeking asylum, particularly women and children seeking asylum, are in danger of being the victims of further exploitation and physical and sexual violence here in Australia. This funding allowed Romero to build Mercy Circles of Hope that literally removed previously traumatised men, women and children off the street and away from highly dangerous circumstances.”
The project well surpassed expectations, supporting 57 people seeking asylum and developing another 29 new Circles of Hope placements.
The project also brought about benefits for the volunteers, enabling them to develop a sense of belonging through volunteering and giving, and reducing social alienation by developing local, meaningful relationships in local Circles of Hope, fostering community social capital and individual wellbeing.
In short, the project simultaneously aimed to help create the kinds of communities that we would all like to be a part of.