An historic investment in domestic violence services by the NSW government has been welcomed by Shoalhaven women's refuge managers, who hope the region will benefit from the record $500 million funding.
The most significant investment in the package is a huge $426.6 million allocated over four years to develop 75 extra women's refuges under the 'Core and Cluster' model, which pairs accommodation with critical services in one, central location.
These complexes provide housing units where residents can access supports such as counselling and legal support, and amenities like communal kitchens and playgrounds.
Manager of the Shoalhaven women's refuge SAHSSI, Lesley Labka, welcomes the much-needed funding and hopes to see it benefit victims on the South Coast.
Ms Labka said there are currently over 100 women in the Shoalhaven on a waitlist to access services from SAHSSI.
"I have 35 women waiting to be allocated a case manager to provide them with assistance," she said.
"That's women who are either homeless - or about to become homeless - many of which will be experiencing or have fled domestic violence.
"In addition to that, I have about 65 women on the women's refuge waiting list."
It has not yet been determined where the 75 refuge's will be allocated across the state, but Ms Labka hopes the state government will consult with peak bodies in making a determination.
"Hopefully they (the state government) will be consulting with DV New South Wales, who is the peak body representing most women's refuges and core support services," said Ms Labka.
"I hope they will consult with bodies about where the demand is.
"If there is any advocacy that we can do, we will definitely be putting ourselves forward to be considered for housing because we are definitely an area of vulnerability on the South Coast."
$52.5 million will also fund an additional 200 sustainable and affordable housing units under the Community Housing Innovation Fund, a partnership between the NSW Government and the community housing sector.
Another $5.2 million will be invested to trial a program in two districts providing dedicated supports to accompanied children and young people impacted by domestic and family violence.
South Coast MP Shelley Hancock said the funding aims to tackle the link between violence at home and homelessness, especially for children and young people.
"Secure and stable accommodation is one of the biggest challenges a woman and her children can face when trying to safely leave a violent relationship," Mrs Hancock said.
"This enormous commitment by the government will help thousands of women and children across the state to access the shelter and supports they need to start rebuilding their lives.
"Specialist homelessness services supported more than 8,200 children in families experiencing domestic violence 2019-20.
"The trial announced this week will provide another 3,200 children and young people with access to the trauma-informed care and educational supports they need to help them recover too."