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Muir Group News

27th May 2010

Howley House helps change women’s lives

Howley House helps change women’s lives A CHESTER woman this week told how her new home in the city is changing her life.

For years, Debi Cliffe lived with an abusive partner at the home they shared together in Liverpool, before moving to a women’s refuge centre in Northwich. She later moved to Lightways – a temporary accommodation scheme run by Chester Women’s Hostel Association (CWHA) for homeless women in need of resettlement services.

Now, thanks to a new development by Muir Group Housing - officially opened this week - Debi, 28, is turning her life around and leaving the memories of her past behind.

“Since I have been living here, I have felt that I am really getting back on track,” explained Debi.

“The support offered by staff helps to build confidence and self esteem and I am feeling a lot more safe and secure than I have done in years.”

Debi is joined by six other women at Howley House, a two-storey development which offers support, temporary accommodation and a resettlement service to help get the women back on their feet.

Named after the late Tony Howley - a development officer for Muir Group Housing who dedicated more than 30 years to helping those in supported housing - the scheme was officially opened by his widow Mary on Wednesday, May 26.

The vision of giving the women a safe and secure environment to live in was helped by a Social Housing Grant of more than £400,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Pam Sharratt of Chester Women’s Hostel Association (CWHA), who will be managing the scheme in Blacon, said: “Howley House is an important development for the city that will help to re-shape the lives of the women who are living there.

“By working closely with Muir Group Housing we have been able to create a stable environment for the residents, who have previously felt very unsafe and vulnerable.”

Each of the women has their own flat at the scheme with access to a communal outside space, communal kitchen, training resources and 24 hour on-site support from a CWHA support worker.

John Bellis, chief executive of Muir Group Housing, said: “We hope that Howley House will continue to provide support to women for many years to come and in the name, we have ensured that Tony’s hard work and commitment to supported housing will never be forgotten.”