When homeless, pregnant mothers finally reach the door of a Good Counsel homes, they’ve often made several, if not many, stops and detours along the way, none of them safe or healthy. Some may find temporary housing in a homeless shelter, but their time there is up when their pregnancy begins to show, or they are turned away at the first interview because they tell the interviewer that they are pregnant or perhaps they have other children. When a woman applies for temporary housing with a social service agency, they have to prove that they are “really” homeless. They will inquire about any relatives who could take them in, and those relatives could be people the woman doesn’t know. Even if there is a space, it may not be healthy, or safe. If there is a couch open at a friend’s or family member’s home, then the woman is deemed not homeless. If they are approved, they often have to reapply at certain intervals because after all, it is just temporary housing.
Finally, a “yes, come in.”
This lack of safe housing was precisely the reason Good Counsel began in 1985 – offering a real home for homeless, pregnant mothers who have nowhere else to go. One of the case managers recently said that a recent resident who had just moved in could not get over the fact that, no, she would have to pack up and move for up to a year or more. She could not believe that Good Counsel was there for her in every way possible, and she could unpack her things and sleep in a bed that was hers.
A Good Counsel mom, Rhonda, stated upon her intake appointment, “Social Services gave me a number to a shelter, but they couldn’t help, then the shelter gave me the number for Good Counsel.
“The person whose house I was staying at died. For a few days before coming to Good Counsel, I was living out of my car. I needed shelter for me and my unborn daughter. I needed food and a hot shower. I hoped to find help, if not for me, then for my daughter.”
It’s incredible to watch love at work in a Good Counsel home. A few months later, when checking in with Rhonda, she said, “I feel pretty good and am about to go back to school and work. My daughter is doing great and is full of laughter.” Rhonda also expressed her sincere gratitude for all of the help she received from staff and volunteers.
She had a Good Counsel Case Manager at her side when she gave birth to her daughter. She is learning how to cook and how to budget the money she earns. Most importantly, she’s learning how to take care of her daughter because she didn’t know what to do because of her lack of a support system or positive influence for most of her life. She was eager to learn how to do things differently.
It’s okay to cry on your first night…
We asked Rhonda what she would tell women who are new to Good Counsel and who may be unsure and scared, just like she was. Her advice was, “It’s okay to feel safe. It’s okay to cry on your first night. Take the help that is offered and learn and grow surrounded by that help.”
Can you imagine having to convince yourself that it’s okay to feel safe? Rhonda received all of the help she needed and a home to live in because of your prayers and generosity. If you’d like to help the next mother who may be living in her car right now, please click here to find out how.