Fr. Groeschel, founder of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, told Bell that he would help him start the ministry that would eventually become Good Counsel Homes. Hearing those words from Fr. Groeschel "sounded almost like the voice of God and it was a great encouragement," Bell recalled.
Good Counsel Homes was founded soon after in 1985 with the goal of helping women with children get off the streets and find stability through work or education.
"As soon as we opened on March 10, 1985, we were getting calls from women who were pregnant and women who were pregnant with other born children... So we responded to the need and took in the mothers," Bell said.
Since 1985, Good Counsel Homes has aided more than 7,000 women at their residence homes and have expanded to four additional houses in New York and New Jersey.
During their time at Good Counsel Homes, the women in residence are offered finance, health, relationship and life-skills classes, as well as information about child growth and development. The average stay for a mother and her children at Good Counsel Homes is about 13 months, which allows them enough time to establish a job or some kind of stable independence.
Bell still remembers the first woman who came to Good Counsel Homes. She had a small son, but said that he was not her first child. She previously had an abortion when she was in high school, having been told that her nine-week-old baby in utero was a "blob of bloody tissue."