A new nonprofit organization and ministry will help homeless and expectant mothers when they need it the most. A Mother’s Hope was founded by Stasia Roth, executive director, and fellow Catholics who saw an unmet need in the community.
Expectant mothers in need of immediate shelter have historically been underserved. Roth explained the stark reality of the situation: In 2016 alone, she said, 81 pregnant women called the 2-1-1 referral hotline looking for shelter. While there are women’s shelters in the area, they are often at capacity and therefore not options for women with an urgent need.
With this landscape in mind, A Mother’s Hope began from a desire to do something for these mothers, while also providing opportunities for stability.
A Mother’s Hope is in the fundraising stage now. The goal is to open its doors in March 2018.
Referrals will come from partner agencies. Roth said the house will be able to accommodate up to eight women and babies at a time, and mothers will be allowed to stay up to one year after giving birth. Staff will be on site 24/7 to cater to the needs of residents.
Roth understands those needs firsthand. A mother of three and previous social worker, she said helping others has always been second nature.
“I really enjoy helping someone see what could be and support them and try to figure out how to achieve it,” she said. “It’s amazing what they can do with support.”
A property has been secured that will serve as temporary housing for women who qualify. Roth said she wants the atmosphere to be welcoming and homelike. But A Mother’s Hope will provide much more than shelter: It will be a community of physical, emotional and spiritual support.
Prenatal care, education and help with employment, transportation and life skills will be all part of the package. After all, she said, shelter is just one piece of the puzzle and other factors contribute to positive outcomes.
“Moms will come here looking for prenatal needs to be met, but we can help them make positive changes, especially while they are pregnant,” she said.
Roth said the role of her staff will be one of an advocate. That means a hands-on approach.
“As a Christian organization, it’s important that we give the mothers the right skills and walk alongside them,” she said.
Still, that calls for accountability and personal responsibility on the part of the mothers. Residents will be expected to share in household chores, as well as have a faith goal to work on.
Roth said the board of directors is trying to raise awareness about the cause and inspire donations. They have already have received financial backing from private foundations: The program is partially supported by a grant from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation.
Roth encourages individuals to prayerfully consider pledging.
Volunteer support will also be essential to the ministry’s success, she said. Those who feel called to step up can assist with fundraising right now as well as various tasks once the home is operational.
For more information about A Mother’s Hope or to make a donation, visit www.amothershopefw.org.
Hope and Success!
Although in the early stages, A Mother’s Hope already has a success to report. In 2016, an African immigrant named Kristi (not her real name) escaped an abusive situation. She found herself in a new city, pregnant and completely alone. Determined to keep fighting for her own life and the life of her child, she found help and care through the local Women’s Care Center. She was afraid to give birth alone, so for the next 36 hours A Mother’s Hope volunteers stayed at Kristi’s side, listening to her fears and offering support.
Her son Joshua was born prematurely and with many complications. It wasn’t safe for him to have a sitter or to go to work with his mother, so Kristi had to stop working to take care of him. A Mother’s Hope stepped in to help, along with the Women’s Care Center and St. Mary’s Church. Together, they pitched in to cover the mother and son’s rent for two months, until Joshua was well enough for Kristi to return to work. Since then, A Mother’s Hope has been with Kristi and her son every step of the way.
Eventually Kristi hopes to return to school, this time to study nursing. A Mother’s Hope is offering her support and guidance as she seeks legal help to get her visa reinstated. Currently, she is pursuing a visa that will allow her to stay in the United States so Joshua can continue to receive the medical care he needs.
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