The H.O.P.E. Program - Housing and Outreach to Promote Empowerment supports young mothers (aged 16-25) who are pregnant or have a child under two years. These young mums often have their own significant needs and require assistance with concerns such as homelessness, trauma, substance abuse, poor mental health or domestic violence. Through integrated one-on-one support, The H.O.P.E. Program helps young mums, and their families to thrive.
Significant risks are associated with homelessness – including violence, rape, trauma and addiction – children risk being removed from their parents and placed in foster care. Desperate to hold on to their kids, these young parents often attempt to ‘hop’ between crisis refuges in an attempt to appear as if they have safe and secure accommodation. This is dangerous for themselves and for their children. Stable, medium term accommodation gives these parents the opportunity to train, gain employment and reconnect with family. Click here for our latest update on HOPE.
Here are two different stories from two brave new mums who have come through the H.O.P.E. Program; Renee and Sarah*.
"My name is Renee, I'm 24 years old and I’m a single mum to my baby boy Rory. When I found out I was pregnant I was going downhill, I had an abusive relationship. His father cheated on me… and then he ran off, so I'm doing it all on my own. I used to have bad self-harm issues when I was younger, and I have depression and anxiety. I get along with my mum and dad okay, but our relationship is sometimes strained. But I'm at a point now where I have to be strong for my baby.
The H.O.P.E. program has been so wonderful for me. It has given me such great support and has helped me to be a better mum to Rory. They set me up in a house to help me get on my feet, helped me with budgeting, food planning and set me and my mum up with counselling to help our relationship. My time in the program will be finished soon, and HOPE will help me look for a private rental. Before Rory turns one, HOPE will set me up with day care for him and set me up in a program to help me get back into work.
H.O.P.E. has helped me in so many ways. With my home, with counselling, they’ve helped me to control my emotions a bit better. They have also linked me with a few different programs, like the one that has helped me to stay on top of my finances. I fell behind with my electricity bill, so they linked me with a company to help me pay it off.
Without H.O.P.E. who knows where we’d be… maybe sleeping on the streets?"
Sarah’s Story: Keeping Her Family Safe
Sarah* spent the first 18 months of her life in foster care. She has never met her mother, whose substance abuse and criminal offences were the reason she was placed in Out-of-Home Care.
Sarah grew up in south west Sydney with her father who worked as a metal caster before a back injury and worsening arthritis meant he was no longer able to fulfil his duties. They lived in an unsafe neighbourhood and when Sarah was 15 they were desperate to move. Without the security of a steady income, Sarah’s father took the first opportunity to relocate, and the pair settled in a cramped storage unit.
Sarah split her time between the unit and ‘couch surfing’ at friends’ houses. At just 18, she fell pregnant to her then-partner, who ended the relationship during the second trimester. He was charged with harassment and an AVO prevented him from contacting Sarah and their unborn child. Shortly after this, Sarah was referred to the H.O.P.E. Program.
Through H.O.P.E. Sarah received subsidised accommodation and practical support, and when she gave birth to her daughter she had developed the parenting skills she needed to provide a safe environment for her family. Sarah now has a positive relationship with a new partner and they are expecting a child.
Sarah and her family hope to move into private rental accommodation closer to her partner’s workplace. Sarah’s dad regularly visits for dinner and remains a strong support for her.
*Name has been changed