Bed bug infestation forces domestic violence shelter to find alternative accommodation for women – ABC News

A serious bed bug infestation has forced an outbackshelter to find alternative accommodation forwomen and children fleeing violent homes.

Despite Women's Safety Services of Central Australia havingbeen given the all clear after the infestationclosed the service on October 9, women and children cannot return to the premises for up to two weeks.

CEO Larissa Ellissaid the whole situation was a nightmare.

"The shelter had bed bugs in one room, and unfortunately, it spread throughout the service," she said.

"It's not just the soft furnishings, they can live in the brick walls.

"We've gone through and we've got a local builder to do a quote for us around replastering walls."

Ms Ellis said that all bedding and soft furnishings had to be replaced at a significant cost to the shelter.

"There aretwo elements to that," she said.

"There's one aroundthe infrastructure:the cost around pest control, the plastering of the walls that we've had to undertake [and] thereplacement of furniture,that's probably cost us about $50,000," she said.

The other ongoing cost is the alternative accommodation.

"We've got a running tally on that," Ms Ellis said.

"Sometimes Invoicing is a little bit slower than what we would like it to be, so I couldn't put a dollarfigure on that as yet."

Ms Ellis said the situation was less than ideal as they waited for bed frames and vinyl-covered mattresses to arrive from interstate.

"Whilst we don't have bedbugs, we don't have the furniture to accommodate women," she said.

"It is difficult for staff to reconcile that and to work with service providers in Alice Springs to identify appropriate alternative accommodation for women."

Currently the service has between 15 to 20 women accessing the shelter viaalternative accommodation.

"Our preference would always be that they're in our crisisaccommodation service," Ms Ellis said.

"We continue to follow up with women whilst they're in the alternative accommodationand we do that to providecontinuity [in care], linkages with our services, to undertake safetyand then exit planning."

While the service will accept donations, Ms Ellis said that she would like to stress that any goodsmust be in good condition.

"We don't have a lot of staff available and it does take our time away from women and addressing women's safety and support needs if wehave tosort through donations."

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Bed bug infestation forces domestic violence shelter to find alternative accommodation for women - ABC News

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