Heartbeat announces the launch of the National Maternity Housing Coalition (NMHC).

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Established on June 19, 2012 by a small representation of homes, the NMHC is now launching and recruiting membership.

Over 330 homes exist in the US!  Our goal is to unify the work of homes across the country so that we can strengthen our programs and better communicate the important role that maternity housing programs play in supporting pregnant women.

Key activities:

  • Develop collective tools for people hoping to start a maternity housing programs;
  • Support the conferences of Heartbeat and the National Christian Housing Coalition;
  • Provide emotional and spiritual support to leaders of maternity housing programs;
  • Promote the work of maternity housing programs broadly, within the life.

NMHC’s Mission Statement:  We inspire excellence among maternity housing providers and articulate a collective voice to advance the culture of life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We do this by providing training and tools, facilitating an exchange of knowledge and experience, and fostering fellowship among members.

“The power of the Coalition is in providing a unified voice to amplify our message of hope to pregnant women who are in need of support,” said Chris Bell, long-time Executive Director of Good Counsel Homes and founding member of the National Maternity Housing Coalition.  “In our work of building a culture of life, we need to leverage our voices.”

When asked about the goal of the Coalition, Mary Peterson, founder of Maggie’s Pace notes, “The work of maternity homes has been around for a long time, but the challenges of women now are quite complicated involving addiction, abuse, trauma, and lack of support.  In order to be more effective in our work, we need to learn from another.”

“What a great win-win situation to be partnering with Heartbeat,” affirmed Gloria Lee.  As a long-term director of Our Lady’s Inn, Gloria has been involved with Heartbeat for many years.  “Heartbeat’s mission of building up the capacity of life-affirming ministries is a perfect fit with the direction of the National Maternity Housing Coalition.”

For additional information, contact:

  • Chris Bell, Good Counsel Homes, (201) 795-0637
  • Gloria Lee, Our Lady’s Inn, (314) 351-4590
  • Mary Peterson, Maggie’s Place, (602) 262-5555
  • Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat, (614) 885-7577

Starting a maternity or single-parent housing ministry

Maternal housing programs are a special part of the spectrum of services offered by pregnancy help organizations. Heartbeat is delighted that you are considering this ministry. The Scriptures are very clear that we must help those in need by meeting their needs.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in (Matthew 25:35 NASB).

 

It is important to lay a good foundation in every ministry and this is certainly true for a housing ministry. You need to take the time to do things right and not just rush ahead in excitement. This work requires great faith and strength and planning.  Below are a few things to initially consider.

 

Five basic steps as you plan

1. Gather data and information on the needs in your community. Talk to other ministry leaders and understand their perceptions of “gaps in services.” Have a solid understanding of the existing resources in your area. Gather research on unique factors that affect your community.

2. In light of what you've learned, begin to write down your vision and how you see it unfolding. Be as specific as possible.

Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets,that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time;it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay (Habakkuk 2:2-3 NASB).

  • Who will you serve? How long can they stay?
  • What type of activities are going to happen in the home?
  • What type of property do you think you will need?Who will you serve? How many are you planning to serve? Give the age group and types (i.e., pregnant, single parents). Write these things down.

3. Make plans to visit existing programs. See what other housing ministry locations and programs may be in eistence already by visiting the Worldwide Directory. Just type in your city or zip code and it will show you the life-affirming organizations that already exist in your area. 

4. Look for a small group of people to work with you as you plan. Eventually, these people could be the beginning of your Board. It is often a small group of key visionaries who set the cornerstones of the vision in place, recognizing that changes will be made along the way.

5. Be aware of the regulations that govern the work. In the US, a 501(c)3 and/or fiscal agent relationship is necessary to receive tax deductible gifts. Understand state-level guidelines that impact housing organizations. Research the city-level regulations related to being a “group home” or having a “special use.”

6. Start working on a budget. Initial resources may be thought of as Seed Money (funding to begin the ministry) or Capital (funding for purchase of large ticket items like a property, vehicle, computer network, etc). Over time, you will prepare an Operating Budget to outline the annual expense of running the ministry. As needed, begin learning about fundraising strategies and create a fundraising plan.

There is much that could be said. We look forward to walking with you as you begin this journey. Housing is a beautifully messy ministry filled with life-changing relationships. It is your opportunity to change the life of others…and be changed in the process! Welcome to the maternity housing community!

Housing resources:

  • A Vision for Your Organization
  • Maternity Housing Essentials
  • Affiliate with Heartbeat International and Join the National Maternity Housing Coalition
  • FREE Webinar on 10 Things to Think About in Starting a Home
  • National Maternity Housing Coalition Facebook group
  • Loving and Caring: www.lovingandcaring.org 
  • National Christian Housing Conference
  • Contact Mary E. Peterson, Housing Specialist for Heartbeat International at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We pray God’s blessing on you as you consider this very important ministry of the pro-life community.

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