Shocked by the rise of homeless women over 50 in Australia, she is participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout for the second year, and speaking out to raise awareness of the vulnerability of many women to being left on the streets when impacted by the economic triple D – Divorce, Disease and/or Death.
“Every single day in my business I am contacted by women who are about to become or are currently homeless. These are smart, educated women, who have experienced the collision of an unplanned life event with their own lack of financial literacy.”
Ms Mays believes that the majority of female homelessness is invisible, with only six percent of Australians classified as ‘homeless’ on our streets – the remainder on couches, in cars and vans or in temporary accommodation.
“The much more serious issue is many women are in unsafe and violent domestic situations and unable to leave because they have no where to go,” said the White Ribbon Ambassador and women’s advocate.
“The numbers of homeless women have doubled since 2013 – that is an extraordinary statistic,” says Mays, “but more horrific is that an average of 36 per cent of individuals seeking homelessness services in Australia are victims of domestic violence.
“The right to housing extends far further than simply the right to a roof over one’s head. It is the right to safety, security, adequate facilities, and so much more.”
Driven in part by the contraction of affordable housing in major cities, homelessness is compounded by so many women being locked out or left out of financial decisions throughout their lives.
This leads to a devastating vulnerability when they are put in a situation of having to manage or defend their finances through a divorce, or death of a partner, or cope with the expense of illnesses such as cancer or immune diseases.
“Vinnies CEO Sleepout is an excellent way to compassionately experience the hardship of sleeping rough. The bigger issue here is helping women throughout each stage of their lives to have access to the tools to take control of their finances.
“That is my passion and my mission, we must as a sector take leadership in helping to increase financial literacy and empower women. I challenge every CEO to see the sleepout as the beginning of their work, not a one night event.”
To sponsor Marion Mays for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout click here https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/marion-mays/