New York City, N.Y., Dec 23, 2016 / 15:39 pm
Christopher Bell was in his twenties and living in Times Square when he heard something that sounded like the voice of God.
Bell had been working with homeless and runaway kids in New York City, when he encountered pregnant women with young children who had no homes. At the time, Bell said there were no long-term programs that were ministering to pregnant women with other children.
“I thought there was a need to have longer-term housing for mothers and babies, but I didn’t know what to do,” Bell told CNA.
“I was close to Fr. Benedict Groeschel, and I complained to him, ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something to help these young mothers and children?’”
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.