The Journey of Eight Ladies and a Homeless Shelter For Women
--by KiwiCat, posted Nov 28, 2016
In April of this year, I was invited by a friend to join her Social Change group. We are 8 women from all walks of life, all ages, different backgrounds and experiences. We had one thing in common - we live in a fantastic country and yet we see homeless people on the streets asking for money. We have a generous welfare system, and a social housing scheme - but its a problem that is getting worse. We asked ourselves, what happens to homeless women? Why are they invisible?
Our journey of discernment began. We volunteered at shelters, we met with social housing providers, shelter managers, social workers, hospital and prison management, a prostitutes collective, and began to see a pattern. Women were not being catered for by any of the existing schemes. Discernment was about what we wanted to provide as well as what we didn't want.
We researched about which world wide programs were having success, we had guest speakers at our meetings and began to get a clear picture about what we needed to do. What was already available wasn't working for the women who needed help.
Providence has stepped in this week. We have been gifted a building in the city center. Its old and run down, and needs a lot of work to bring it to the standard we want to provide more than just shelter to women in need. As well as the building, we meet next week to find out if we can access a new pool of grants to renovate the building. We aim to have 6 self-contained apartments providing full social services for women to stay in for up to two years (plus two offices & bedrooms for staff) We are just shocked with this, as finding a building was our major issue getting our project off the ground.
On Friday, I began the process of registering us as a Charitable Trust. I was asked on the phone for the address of our 'offices' - "offices?" "yes, where you work from, where your organization is based" - lol, the answer is "Anna's living room!!"
It's all go! As well as this all going on and building momentum, we have a few personal issues going on causing huge stress. If I'm not here as much as I have been, we are okay, just getting our heads down and working everything through.
I'd just like to finish with - I'm an ordinary person, no special talents - really... if I can do this, anyone can. You can be the change in the world, in our own way, look for the opportunity and just do it.