Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Pierra Wil­lix

A de­sire to help young, preg­nant women in the com­mu­nity 10 years ago has turned into a full­time role for Rock­ing­ham sis­ters Patty Pow­ell and Eileen Giles.

In Fe­bru­ary 2009, S. O. U. L Inc es­tab­lished its House of Hope, with the first woman mov­ing into the home soon af­ter.

A decade on, Ms Pow­ell said the or­gan­i­sa­tion had helped a count­less num­ber of women, hous­ing them and their chil­dren when they had nowhere else to go.

“We have had women come to us for a range of dif­fer­ent rea­sons, be that home­less­ness or do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, and we have women re­ferred to us through hos­pi­tal so­cial work­ers,” she said.

Pro­vid­ing a place to stay for ex­pec­tant and new moth­ers, S. O. U. L equips them with skills for once they move back into the com­mu­nity through their Vil­lage Women pro­gram, how­ever there is no cri­te­ria for how long each mother and her child can stay in the or­gan­i­sa­tions two homes or in­de­pen­dent units.

Ms Pow­ell said there were a range of places for women un­der 25 who find them­selves preg­nant with nowhere to go, how­ever for those women over 25, they of­ten “fell through the cracks”.

“From what I hear, there are not many places like this,” she said.

“There would be more kids go­ing into care if we didn’t have the House of Hope.”

For ex­pec­tant and new moth­ers, S. O. U. L also has a com­mu­nity wardrobe, where moth­ers can source free clothes for their ba­bies.

Pic­ture: Pierra Wil­lix

Rock­ing­ham sis­ters Patty Pow­ell and Eileen Giles.

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