Rosalie's Haven safe house has its challenges
An initiative to help women leave the sex trade and seek refuge in Manawatu is facing some tough obstacles.
A Palmerston North woman and former sex worker, who goes by the name Rosalie Haven, is behind the efforts to help get at-risk women off the streets and into safety.
Haven began setting up a national safe house in the city in March. Her initiative aims to offer a place for New Zealand women wanting to leave the sex industry for good.
The safe house would act as a base for women to seek refuge and staff would offer support needed, such as organising counselling or alcohol and drug programmes for them or attending court appearances with them.
Haven had hoped to have accommodation set up by June, but has found securing a house with cheap rent a challenge in the city.
She said she needed accommodation and employment for about five women.
"That's our biggest thing, it's just getting a house. What I would really like to see is getting a house sorted in September and finding some jobs for these women."
She said she had had offers of work experience for the women, but what they really needed was solid employment in jobs such as in retail or hospitality.
"These women are trying to start again. The aim for them is to change their lifestyle, get into employment, just to have a second chance at their life.
"A lot of them don't see any light at the end of the tunnel, like things are all doom and gloom, but there is a light."
She said accommodating these women, putting them into employment and ensuring there were wrap-around services available for them was their best shot at giving them hope and a second chance at life.
Haven hopes to secure a five-bedroom house which four women can rent and another bedroom would be used as emergency accommodation.
Haven said she had come across several cases involving homeless and desperate women in Palmerston North. She said there was a real need to provide shelter to vulnerable women in particular, and also for homeless and vulnerable men.
"We've faced many challenges but I'll face any challenge that there is. There's always hope."
To help or find out more email Rosalie's Haven.