Washington D.C., USA (CNA) – A Missouri crisis maternity home run by Catholic Charities recently celebrated the birth of the 100th baby for its formerly homeless clients.
LifeHouse Crisis Maternity Home, a program of Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, serves vulnerable homeless pregnant women and their children under the age of five. The home provides transitional housing for the women, who stay up to a year after giving birth while receiving the support they need to eventually move out on their own.
“We established the Lifehouse program to provide homeless pregnant women with comprehensive services that leads to healthy babies and healthy moms, and breaks the cycle of generational poverty by providing opportunities for a brighter future,” Maura Taylor, executive director of LifeHouse, told CNA.
Located in Springfield, Missouri, the program launched in 2010 and the current home opened in 2013, on the site of a former Carmelite monastery. All of the women at the home have suffered trauma, with many of them human trafficking survivors. Most have had substance abuse problems.
The group recently celebrated the birth of the 100th baby among the mothers it has served, 151 of who have “graduated” the program since it began in 2013. For the women who move on, LifeHouse provides case management for another two years when they move into their own homes.
Catholic Charities, USA recently noted that 100 babies have been born to women at the home. Of the 100 babies, 15 were born during the coronavirus pandemic, all free of drug dependence and not requiring a stay at the neonatal intensive care unit, Catholic Charities noted.
According to the Diocese of Springfield, when the home opened in 2013 it was the first in the area to provide shelter and support for expectant mothers.
LifeHouse has dorm-style housing, but also provides social work case managers, a registered nurse, a licensed professional counselor, and other support staff. Women have access to prenatal and post-delivery health education and counseling, as well as education for parenting and life skills such as budgeting. The home also provides them transportation, and employment and housing assistance.
The Springfield home serves many area women, but some have come from out-of-state. One woman recently graduated the program and moved back to be reunited with their family in California.
Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri plans to build a second maternity home in Cape Girardeau. Groundbreaking on the project will commence this summer, and the new home is scheduled to open in 2022.