Houses to Homes has sheltered thousands of pregnant young women. Find out more about this fantastic program from CatholicCare Social Services in the Diocese of Parramatta.
CatholicCare Social Services, an agency of the Diocese of Parramatta, provides an impressive transitional housing service for homeless pregnant girls and mothers under 25 years of age. Houses to Homes started in the early 1990s and has since provided housing and support to thousands of families.
Louise Masters is the manager of Houses to Homes (H2H) and is based at the Quakers Hill office of CatholicCare Social Services.
“We provide housing and support to over 100 young families per year,” Louise said.
The program started after reports of homelessness affecting pregnant young women in Western Sydney. The program is open to pregnant young women in the local government areas of the City of Blacktown and the Hills Shire.
“One of the first referrals was for a pregnant girl living in the fire escape of a local shopping centre,” Louise said.
The Good Shepherd Sisters were originally involved in the program, responding to the local needs of very vulnerable young women.
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Young mothers often hear about the program from other community sector organisations, such as Link2home, Housing NSW, Child Protection Services and Centrelink. Social workers, juvenile justice workers, GPs and hospital staff also make referrals to Houses to Homes.
Also, some young mothers hear about Houses to Homes from their school and come to CatholicCare Social Services on their teacher’s advice.
The service is also aimed at young mothers and children in the community at risk of homelessness.
“A high percentage of our mothers are alone with little support from family or community. Relationship and family breakdown is common and the involvement of fathers varies with each family.” Louise said.
Houses to Homes provides accommodation in two unit properties that the organisation owns. There are also three community-housing properties where Houses to Homes has tenancy nomination rights, which means Houses to Homes has priority to use this housing for its clients.
“We house the remainder of our mothers with other community housing providers or in private rentals,” Louise said.
The transitional housing is temporary and aims to transition clients to long-term stable housing. Houses to Homes also provides advocacy support to find such housing.
There is case management support and access to parenting and living skills education, employment and training/education facilitated by CatholicCare Social Services.
Also, Houses to Homes proactively visits local pregnant women at risk of becoming homeless in the near term.
A formerly homeless young mother thanks Houses to Homes recently for how the program had transformed her life.
“Before I came to this place I was so broken…” she wrote.
“If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have been able to get through it all. You all helped me so much.
“Thank you so much for the home and everything. I really like it. I can’t thank you enough for all the kindness and things you have been doing for me.”
“If it wasn’t for your help my baby and I wouldn’t be as happy and healthy as we are now. Thank you for giving Jane a good life beginning and thank you so much for making me a good parent.”*
For more information about Houses to Homes and CatholicCare Social Services, click here.
Contact: Manager Louise Masters
Houses to Homes
23 Pentland Street Quakers Hill NSW 2763
Ph: 02 9837 2095
Fx: 02 9837 2275
*Name changed to protect individual’s identity