Transition Village Wallan Inc. is a local non-profit organisation, based in Wallan, addressing homelessness. The Transition Village Wallan project is inspired by the great work of Dignity Village and Opportunity Village in the USA, using tiny houses to provide bridge accommodation to assist the vulnerable.
A local law firm, TBA Law, has been assisting the Transition Village Wallan on a pro bono basis. Now, TBA Law’s new access to justice project which has just been launched in Victoria, will provide assistance to the homeless and vulnerable that the Transition Village Wallan support.
Legally Wise Women is an access to justice project, spawned during the COVID-19 pandemic, and supported by the Centre for Legal Innovation. Legally Wise Women is an online legal literacy platform, providing ‘where to start’ kits, education courses, free information videos, and fortnightly Q&A access to a solicitor for a small fee.
The Transition Village Wallan, as a member of the Legally Wise Women community, will enable homeless women using their accommodation to also have assistance accessing justice, assisting the vulnerable women.
“Legally Wise Women is primarily for the ‘missing middle’ women who don’t qualify for government legal assistance, but can’t afford private legal fees,” says the founder Jacqui Brauman.
“Yet those that are homeless also don’t know where to start when they face a legal issue, and Legally Wise Women can provide valuable resources, along with referrals for homeless women to the right legal support.”
“People often feel intimidated by the law and find it difficult to navigate our legal system in situations where they need to defend themselves from a legal challenge or seek justice. There is still a fair bit of stigma and shame involved when people find themselves with legal problems,” says CEO of the Transition Village, Judy Clarke.
“Finding innovative ways to increase people’s understanding of what their rights are, what options are available and giving them the confidence to take action is key to breaking down barriers that can really hinder community inclusion. Community or government legal assistance is great for those who can access it, but there are many who don’t qualify. We fully support the aims of TBA Law’s new project and look forward to engaging our villagers in legal self-advocacy.”
With both organisations anticipating increased demand, both for homeless support, and for legal assistance, the partnership between the Transition Village Wallan and Legally Wise Women will be mutually beneficial for many.
The work of the Transition Village Wallan can be found here: https://transitionvillagewallan.com.au/
Legally Wise Women has a free part: https://wise.legallywisewomen.com.au