“For the first time these young women are asked what their hopes and dreams are.” – Laura Tancredi-Baese, CEO, Home Start
San Diego has a minimal amount of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) available to mobilize at-risk young women with children experiencing homelessness. To accelerate the growing need for supportive housing in San Diego for young mothers and their children, Home Start purchased a 5-unit property in December of 2019, The Miracle on 34th Street.
Home Start’s innovative Maternity Housing Program (MHP) is the first of its kind designed for pregnant or parenting young mothers between the ages of 18 and 24 who are in unstable and unsheltered living conditions. In addition to housing, MHP participants receive evidence-based parenting education, assistance with securing childcare, help with enrolling in college-level courses, counseling, personal health and nutrition education, substance abuse prevention, job training resources, life skills, and healthy relationship training.
Meet Stacey, an Unsheltered Mother with a New Home
During a very stressful pregnancy, Stacey said Home Start was there to help her become a better mom to her son. After being placed on bed rest, Home Start was really accommodating towards her unforeseen circumstance.
Stacey meets with the peer counselor every week who assists her with much needed self-care. She now says that she is finally able to put her health first, which goes a long way in being able to care for her son. Furthermore, when she first went to work at the thrift boutique she was “painfully shy”. Thanks to endless support from the program counselors, she eventually worked her way to a sales associate and she is now a confident lead associate.
Stacey acknowledges, “I can’t even imagine where I would be without Home Start.” Her options consisted of getting a job while putting her pregnancy at risk or staying homeless until she had her child. She recognized that by staying homeless it would put her son at risk of being in the foster care system. She says “growing up in the foster system is something I never want him to go through.” Stacey had spent ten years of her life jumping from home to home. Stacey is proof that Home Start’s MHP is saving lives from homelessness and keeping families together.
Home Start’s strength-based and client-centered philosophy acknowledges that any kind of transitional housing program must be individualized in order to be successful. After an initial analysis of each woman’s past experiences and traumas, counselors work with them on “motivational interviewing”. In this process, the young women are able to, sometimes for the first time, articulate and identify their personal goals. This is a huge step for the young women, like Stacey, as they move out of unstable living situations to create a better life for themselves and for their children.
More PSH for Unsheltered Mothers is Needed
The Lucky Duck Foundation is honored to be a part of the Miracle on 34th Street. We know this building has truly enhanced the community and provided necessary permanent supportive housing to young women and their children to allow them to flourish into their full potential. We know that one building is not enough. Our petition urging elected officials to open vacant, government-owned buildings as supportive housing is still open for signatures. Thank you to the thousands of you that have already signed. If you haven’t, please take a minute to support this effort and then forward it to friends.