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Building bridges of hope for San Diego women impacted by trauma

A non-profit that builds a support system for women who were once homeless or victims of domestic violence, needs some love inside its home with major and costly repairs.

CBS 8 has a new series called Working for Our Community, where we will feature the good going on in our neighborhoods and the people behind it.

For decades, Sister League of San Diego has provided a safe haven for women affected by mental health issues, homelessness, trauma, and domestic abuse. Now, it’s their home that could use your help and some TLC.

“When we have bad storms and water drips through,” said Nuria Haro-Lopez, Sister League Executive Director. “We're starting at $30,000 to do the whole roof, easily.”

One of the homes is in need of a major facelift. It’s been described as living in many different eras.

“Liven it up a little bit more, modernize a bit. We're kind of stuck in the past,” said Haro-Lopez.

The past is what the women living at Sister League of San Diego want to leave behind.

“Looking back, I didn't expect this at all. I thought I was going to end up dead or just, the way my direction of life was going was not good, so this place saved my life for sure,” said Rebecca.

She’s lived at Sister League for a year and half and says she has overcome addiction and is managing her mental illness.

“I was able to build my independence and coming from trauma and what not. Now I am in school, now I am working, now I am looking for the next step of getting my own place,” said Rebecca.

These steps are built with the help of the non-profit that is known as one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets in helping women gain independence.

“Just the idea of giving people a home and giving them the foundation to do things at their pace is super crucial and something that we really need to get out in the forefront. Sister League is a perfect example of a different plan of attack to the homeless crisis and mental health, domestic abuse and trauma,” said Haro-Lopez.

The executive director says they recently expanded their board and added six members.

It has a rich history dating back to WWII that started by helping women and children who were separated from their husbands.

“Our founder, Mrs. Woods, saw that potential in women way back when,” said Haro-Lopez.

Thirty women who were once homeless, victims of domestic violence and affected by mental illness live at one of the two transitional homes in San Diego.

The non-profit has supportive programs to encourage work for women who are already on a path to gain stability and independence at their own pace.

“We have a number of residents who are working, volunteering, going to school and they get community activity hours outside of the house,” said Haro-Lopez.

But to help build that foundation for the 1900-era homes needs a lot of work.

“We need new cabinetry. The doors have been broken off and the floors and tile are cracking,” said Haro-Lopez.

Paint is chipping off the walls, there's a broken oven, four different kinds of flooring, wood panels, a shattered window from a storm and storage is needed for donations.

“It's really important for the community to rally behind us,” said Haro-Lopez.

She says the number of repairs and renovations are more than a hundred thousand dollars.

“A roof is important. What is a home without a roof,” said Haro-Lopez.

A roof is what provides that support for women like Rebecca to gain their own independence.

“I feel like I have a purpose. I've never had that feeling before,” said Rebecca.

If you or someone you know is handyman or contractor or you would like to donate money click here.

Sister League is also in need of household items, such as toilet paper, cleaning products and kitchen items including ziplock bags. They said these items are a huge chunk of their supply budget.

Source: CBS 8

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