It’s been six months since the doors opened at our new building for BaptistCare HopeStreet Women’s Centre in Darlinghurst. In this time, the beautiful drop-in space has become a trusted day-refuge.

It is a place of belonging. Within its walls, women experiencing the challenges of homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, social isolation and the stigma of being associated with the sex industry, can connect with each other and our HopeStreet team.

“People like us don’t get to be in spaces like this.”

The centre provides women with access to showers, laundry facilities, tea and coffee and hot meals, as well as a dining and lounge space. The home-like and welcoming space gives women access to workshops, counselling and case management support, and provides opportunities for them to contribute to the activity program and further build their sense of self-worth, belonging and wellbeing.

The number of women accessing HopeStreet Women’s Services have increased since the new centre opened, and all are quick to comment on how valued they feel, the sense of peace they have and how it feels like home.

“This is the only service that treats me like a human being...”

HopeStreet’s Women’s Services and new Women’s Centre is as much about providing practical support to those who access the drop-in centre, as it is about empowering them to feel connected with others; competent and capable; accomplished in problem solving; as well as sensitive and responsive to the needs of others.

As a drop-in centre it is more than a building; it is home and, for women who have experienced trauma and systematic oppression throughout their lives, it may well be the first true home that they have known.