Karinya House was initially the vision of a small group of people in the Canberra community, who wanted to do something practical to support pregnant and parenting women, especially those who were without appropriate accommodation and support.
In August 1993 a Trust was established to raise funds for a suitable home for this service. The goal was to raise $250,000 through community fundraising and donations to establish this new place. With much community support, this financial goal was reached in 1997. At this point the ACT Government came on board and agreed to provide, at reasonable rental, a house in Belconnen. Karinya House opened its doors on 29 September 1997. In 2003 we opened a second house nearby, which was called Erin House, named after founding members, Erin and Reg Mills.
Karinya House Home for Mothers & Babies Inc. was opened as a community based, not-for-profit organisation. It provides supported accommodation, transitional housing, outreach, support groups and casework services to pregnant and parenting women and their families who are in crisis.
Following the presentation of Karinya’s vision for a purpose built facility to the ACT Government in 2009, construction of the Housing ACT development began in late 2015. The complex, designed by Clarke Keller Architects and closely aligned to our proposal was constructed by Monarch Building Solutions, and completed in July 2017. Karinya House moved the whole service across the the new facility on 29 August 2017. The complex was oficially opened on 31 August 2017 with Karinya House privileged and humbled to be the first lessee of this beautiful facility and valuable community asset. The new Karinya comprises of a four bedroom, two bathroom supported accommodation building, complete with dedicated staff quarters for 24/7 staff presence. In addition there are three two bedroom cottages and four two bedroom units for independent, transitional accommodation. as well as dedicated areas for outreach support, casework and counselling, group program and service administration.
Since its inception. our service has operated on a twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week basis. We support women from Canberra and the surrounding regional areas. It is still the only residential and outreach service specifically for pregnant and parenting women in the region.
Karinya House has now entered its twenty-third year of operation and as of 30 June 2019 has supported over 2,300 women. The women we walk alongside are amongst the most vulnerable and at risk women in our community and without the care, casework, practical assistance and support services that Karinya provides they and their babies may face a very uncertain future.
A large part of Karinya’s success has been our valuable partnerships and the constant and faithful support of the Canberra and region community. We collaborate extensively with the community sector and also with health related and care and protection services. Our partnership with the ACT Government continues to be very positive. Karinya House is a local, grass roots community based service, and its sustainability is dependent upon our community investing and sharing in our purpose of supporting pregnant and early parenting women who are vulnerable or at risk.