Displaying items by tag: maternity home

Help Her Find You!

Find a HomeLast Spring ushered in a season of fresh air, new blooms, and our favorite—a new tool to help you do what you do best! 

The Maternity Housing Coalition has built a first-of-its-kind housing locator tool that allows clients and pregnancy center advocates to search for homes according to location and intake criteria. You can even immediately send an “application” directly to a woman so she can apply to live in your home. This changes everything. 

Gone are the days of hunting for a housing referral through a Facebook group or your personal network. Along with it, are the steady phone calls each day when you repeat exactly what your intake criteria are and determine her circumstances. With the application feature in our search tool, our affiliated homes receive an email with a snapshot of the potential client's information including her name, gestation, current location, and even if she currently has a safe place to stay. When you reach out to connect with this young woman, you are already prepared with the information you need to have a successful and fruitful conversation. 

Becoming an affiliate automatically gives you access to our housing locator tool. Click here to become an affiliate today!

(Existing affiliates only)

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For questions about the Search Tool, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Insuring Your Maternity Home

Find yourself wondering what insurance is needed for maternity housing? What kind of insurance coverages are needed and what kind of company sells those policies? We dive a little deeper into the topic for you below.


Some types of insurance are regulated, others are industry-standard, and others are optional. Getting the appropriate amount of insurance is a balance of risk assessment. Recognize that insurance companies are motivated to sell insurance policies that often represent worst-case scenarios. Likewise, organizations should protect and prepare themselves for challenging circumstances that may arise. Involving Board members with insurance experience in the conversation may help an organization find its “comfort zone.” Insurance companies are a great resource for advice on how an organization can reduce risk. Larger insurance companies may even have a “risk assessment professional” that can do a site visit to offer feedback and suggestions.

General Liability

General Liability insurance is related to accidents that may result in bodily or personal injury or property damage. The cost is determined by the insurer’s assessment of risk based on the number of people involved, the size of the facility, the activities of the organization, etc. In some cases, the organization may ask or be asked to be listed as an “additional insured” for specific reasons (i.e. an event held on a rented property). This is common and easily done by calling one’s insurance agent.

Property Insurance or Renter’s Insurance

Property insurance covers the expense of damage to or destruction of the building and its contents. Various factors affect how a property insurance policy is crafted (e.g. replacement cost vs actual cost). Renter’s insurance, used when a property is being leased, covers solely the contents (not the structure). Organizations must weigh the cost-benefit analysis of valuing the contents at replacement cost, even if donated.

Directors and Officers Insurance

Directors and officers insurance (commonly referred to as D&O Insurance) is insurance for lawsuits due to wrongful acts or mismanagement of the organization most commonly related to employment practices. Requiring the organization to have D&O Insurance is frequently an expectation of experienced Board members.

Automotive Insurance

Any vehicles owned by the organization will need to be insured. If the organization does not own vehicles, it may choose to have a “hired and non-owned” policy that augments the private insurance of volunteers and staff members who may be driving on behalf of the organization. Some drivers and/or vehicles are considered higher risk (i.e. young drivers, 15-passenger vans) and will have higher premiums. Homes are advised to avoid any language related to offering medical care as auto policies have been known to group maternity homes into the costly category of ambulatory medicine.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance addresses the liability related to the professional services of counselors, social workers, and other professionals. If the organization is hiring someone with a professional designation as an employee (rather than an independent contractor), it will need to assume professional liability insurance. The issues related to the scope of practice, covered elsewhere, are critical for this reason.

Life Insurance

Organizations may choose to take out a life insurance policy on a key employee(s) and name the organization as the beneficiary. This is done if the death of the employee would have a very substantial and immediate impact on the organization.

Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s compensation provides coverage for job-related injuries and illnesses and may be required by law depending on jurisdiction and the number of employees.

Life-Affirming Insurance Companies

Heartbeat has a list of preferred insurance companies that have worked well for pregnancy help organizations for years. Click here to learn more.


This and more amazing resources for homes are included in Maternity Housing Essentials - Heartbeat's key resource for anyone starting or maintaining a maternity housing program.

Pushing the Boundaries: The First US Academic Research Study on Maternity Housing

Untitled design 2022 08 10T150912.561Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) applies scientific evaluation methods to better understand and unleash effective poverty interventions. LEO works side-by-side with our service provider partners at no cost to design and implement a research approach that’s both rigorous and respectful of every person it involves.

Partnership Summary

LEO has partnered with five homes to launch a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the impact of emergency maternity housing. As a byproduct of participating in the study, homes receive grant money, weekly and direct support (both virtual and on-site) and access to the data as they go that can help with fundraising. Limited capacity of the maternity homes involved in the study keeps them from providing every mother in the region they serve with a placement into the maternity home and access to services. To allocate beds fairly, the LEO research team introduced a lottery for open beds. Researchers then compare those who do not receive a bed to those who do receive a bed and the home’s services over time. The outcomes that the research team is tracking include the mother’s custody of the new baby, mother’s well-being, housing stability, employment and education as well as well-being of the new baby, through a research approach that’s both rigorous and respectful of every person it involves.

Who is a good fit for the study?

Ideal candidates for this partnership are committed to implementing the already operating RCT at their site and must meet the following criteria:

  • Houses serving a total of 15 new moms per year minimum, whether that includes new moms moving in and out, or current moms staying the whole year.
  • Houses which are currently operating a waitlist or turning moms away because of lack of beds.
  • Must be willing to add research-specific questions to application.
  • Must be willing to implement a lottery to give all moms a fair chance of obtaining a bed in the home.

Why Partner with LEO?

Our research is free. You continue to offer services. We pay for research. It’s pretty brave to be willing to test what you do. We don’t want money to be a barrier to learning. You got into this work to make a difference. Impact starts with knowing. We want to support that vision you have for your life and your work. More evidence means more money. Philanthropists are asking more questions about organizational impact. Being able to answer these questions helps you raise money to support your mission. A partnership with LEO allows you to be a better equipped leader and make informed decisions about your program like where to grow or invest. LEO also provides weekly and direct support (virtual and on-site). LEO research is third-party validation of your work and carries the trust of the Notre Dame brand.

Behind the Curtain: Meet the MHC Council

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As most of you know, the Maternity Housing Coalition is powered by Heartbeat International to strengthen maternity homes in various stages of development ranging from start-ups to well-established homes. But did you know that the MHC is intentionally guided by a Leadership Council? The Council is made up of maternity housing leaders with diverse representations of staffing models, programs, interdenominational faith practices, and sizes of housing organizations. This generous body of leaders volunteer their experiences and insight to serve the well-being of affiliated maternity housing programs across the country by providing input, guidance, and training opportunities. 

Vicki Krnac - Leadership Council ChairVickiKrnac

Before coming to Hannah’s Home Vicki was a teacher that specialized in teaching reading to kids with dyslexia. When she was going through a personally challenging time of life, Jesus became very real to her and taught her that He was always there and loved her. As she learned more about Him, and His work of salvation and how that affected her life, God called her to serve at Hannah’s Home on the Board of Directors. It wasn't long before she realized that as a single mom God was calling her to use her gifts to serve women who were hurting and broken like herself. She serves at HH because God has called her there and she seeks to live her life by doing what He asks of her.  She loves each of the women as if they are her own children. The relationships that are formed give her hope and keep her going.


Amber Hornsbyimage 6483441 3

Amber has a degree in Social Work and has been serving for 10+ years in the US and internationally in human resources and service projects. Her prior work experiences have developed her current skill sets to work with people across demographics, relationally and administratively. Amber’s role within ESTHER Homes is not only administrative, but she works and lives with the families to map out and research different resource options that best meet their direct needs. 


Peggy ForrestPeggy Forrest Photo

Peggy Forrest has served as President of Our Lady’s Inn since 2011; and in 2019 was named President & Chief Executive Officer. In this leadership role she oversees all executive functions to include administration, development, finance, human resources, and in conjunction with the Board - strategic planning. Peggy has more than thirty years of business experience in the corporate environment, demonstrating excellence in executive leadership.

Peggy has been a lifelong pro-life advocate, participating in prayer and advocacy efforts for the unborn which includes presenting testimony before Missouri State Legislative committees considering pro-life legislation. With Peggy at the helm, Our Lady’s Inn took the lead in filing a lawsuit against the City of St. Louis following its enactment of “abortion sanctuary city” ordinances; the City was defeated in federal court. Since her tenure at Our Lady’s Inn began, she has been instrumental in the opening of a number of maternity homes in Missouri and surrounding states. 


Leona Bickneseimage 6483441 1

Leona Bicknese has been working with women in crisis since 1998. She says one of the major blessings in her life has been serving as director of three maternity homes. She has also served as Chief of Operations of a PRC. She earned a BS in Business, an MBA and a Doctor of Biblical Studies in Biblical Counseling. Leona currently serves as President/CEO of Road 2 Hope Maternity Home in Beaverton, OR. She is blessed to serve on the leadership teams of the Maternity Housing Coalition and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview - Portland Cohort.  



Sue Baumgarten

image 6483441Sue Baumgarten lives in Houston, Texas where she has been part of the pregnancy help movement since the early 90’s. Introduced through her church to LifeHouse of Houston (a maternity housing ministry), she has volunteered, served on and chaired the board of directors, lived in the home as house mom (with her family), and led the ministry as Executive Director. Sue currently serves on their board as the Development Chair.

She also serves nationally on the Maternity Housing Coalition’s Leadership Council (2019-present) and The National Christian Housing Conference Leadership Team (2017-present).


Beckie Perezimage 6483441 2

Beckie Pérez is wife of Mike and mother to four children. A San Diego native, Beckie is the co-founder of the 29:Eleven Maternity Home (along with her husband) which opened in 2017. In addition to serving as 29:Eleven’s Executive Director, Beckie also serves on the Leadership Council of the Maternity Housing Coalition. Of her professional achievements which include a B.A., M.A. and California Teaching Credential, Beckie is most proud of her designation as a Life Affirming Specialist (LAS) through Heartbeat International.


Suzanne Burnsimage 6483441 4

Suzanne Burns, MS, CFTP founded and leads a thriving maternity home in Tennessee.  This home has served over 120 mothers and their children through residential services and an additional 500 families through its non-residential program. Suzanne and her team also manage a job training program, where clients are employed while they gain hands-on, practical job skills. 

Suzanne now trains compassionate, overwhelmed kingdom leaders to start maternity homes in their own communities. Suzanne has trained hundreds of teams to implement practical tools to transform the lives of mothers in crisis.  

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Question from the reader: Is there a way to make sure that there will always be even one resident in the house? Sometimes a month goes by and my house is empty. Am I doing something wrong?

EmptyBedThere has been quite a bit of buzz around this topic since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Ministries across the country have found themselves on vacillating ends of the spectrum between empty and full houses with burgeoning waiting lists. So why the variance?

I recently spoke with homes from different regions of the country, each with varied programming models, ministry models, and eligibility criteria. I found that the homes with low occupancy rates (For the purposes of this writing, “low” will be less than 25%) repeatedly described their experiences of receiving calls from women in the community inquiring about their home or even interviewing some women, however, these women did not meet the criteria to be eligible to move into the home. Reasons ranged from past or current drug use, criminal record, previous pregnancies, previous children removed from care, children currently in care, or perhaps a generally poor attitude. Needless to say, this can be an exhausting daily merry-go-round for ministries. 

Question from the reader: Donors and grantors are asking me to provide metrics on the impact and success of our housing ministry. How do I measure this and where do I start?

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Many of us serving in maternity housing ministries have found ourselves in similar shoes! The lives of our residents can be complicated and the definition of “success” is admittedly subjective. Using a tool such as the Evaluation Matrix for Maternity Homes, which you will find cost-free in the Heartbeat affiliation tools for maternity homes, can help to provide an objective and quantifiable measure of progress in the lives of residents. 

It is important to provide data on a few specific outcomes that are directly related to your mission statement, typically about 3-5 outcomes. Our recommendation is to internally measure a wide variety of indicators (about 10-15) and externally present the selected few. This will help guide the public in awareness of specifically how your mission statement is affecting the community as well as keep you equipped with relevant data about many areas of a resident’s progress to have on hand for conversations with donors.

Motherhood and Bonding in Maternity Homes

by Sharisa McDaniel, Transitional Living Program Manager at Catholic Charities of Eastern OklahomaBonding

The setting of a Maternity Home and Transitional Living offers a unique opportunity to influence the parenting practices of residents and family dynamics for generations to come.  At Madonna House and St. Elizabeth Lodge in Tulsa, Oklahoma, team members observe parenting practices that range from healthy and loving to harsh and disconnected.  In an effort to positively shape the futures of the families in the programs, the Transitional Living team at Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma regularly examines the environmental influences and program initiatives to promote bonding and connectedness.  As the family programming at Madonna House and St. Elizabeth Lodge has developed and evolved, the following adjustments have been made to the environment:

    • Most “containers” (bouncy seats, swings, bumbos, exersaucers, etc.) removed from the maternity home to promote mothers holding their babies.
    • Rolling basinets were removed to promote mothers holding their babies rather than pushing them down the hallways.
    • “Stroller Parking” was established to promote mother’s holding and carrying their babies in the home, rather than pushing them in strollers or keeping them contained in car seats.
    • “No Phone Zones” established in offices to encourage mothers to find more appropriate means of entertaining their children during provider appointments (toys instead of screens).
    • Songs, rhymes, and games are posted throughout the home to promote positive interactions between mothers and their children.
    • The program curfew establishes healthy routines for mom and baby.

Catholic Charities has also established a Family Enrichment position to pro-actively educate parents on child development and to offer experiences that help to build healthy bonds. With a background of teaching early childhood education for nearly 20 years, Angela Grissom brings her experience and her passion for educating parents to the Family Enrichment role. Residents of Madonna House and St. Elizabeth Lodge meet with Angela every week to participate in parent-child activities and learn positive parenting practices. The Family Enrichment program offers:

    • Talking is Teaching, a city-wide campaign that promotes reading to children ages 0-5 and provides free books and parenting curriculum.
    • Readers to Leaders, another early childhood reading program that also includes songs, rhymes, and games that provide bonding experiences for mothers and their little ones.
    • Education and guidance on the PACEs (the flip side of ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) – Positive and Compensatory Experiences), 10 experiences children need to live successful lives.
    • I Love You Rituals by Dr. Becky Bailey– bonding songs, rhymes, and games that include eye contact, touch, playfulness, and presence.
    • The Whole Brain Child by Dr. Daniel J. Seigel and Tina Payne – Parenting strategies that promote connection before correction.
    • The Parents as Teachers Home Visiting Program – Each session includes a parent-child interaction, development-centered parenting education, and family well-being guidance.

With these efforts, mothers report:

    • learning new parenting methods that focus on a bond of love,
    • creating healthy routines that benefit their babies development and sleep schedule,
    • establishing rituals that provide a sense of meaning in their family routines,
    • establishing habits of reading with their children,
    • using Whole Brain strategies to successfully navigate difficult behaviors,
    • greater awareness of the experiences that influence their children’s success in life and school.

The Family Enrichment program at Madonna House and St. Elizabeth Lodge is a pro-active approach to influencing strong bonds within resident families for years to come.

Succession Planning for Maternity Housing

by Peggy ForrestPeggy Forrest 244x300

Most of us would agree that any organization’s ability to successfully carry out its mission is tied to the quality of its leadership. Be that a President, CEO, or Executive Director - the effectiveness of that person’s leadership, makes a difference. So, it’s easy to understand why it is mission critical to ensure the next leader will be the correct one, and the transition from one leader to the next will be as smooth as possible. This is especially true in maternity housing because of the deeply personal nature of the work. Leadership transition is critically important, and having a plan guiding that effort will help reduce the stresses which accompany such a transition. Succession planning takes focus and effort. It involves the Board of Directors working in partnership with the current leader.

A succession plan has three main goals:

  • Guide the Board in the recruitment and selection of new leadership.
  • Facilitate a smooth transition
  • Maintain continuity of operations and organizational sustainability

A succession plan contemplates:

  • Planned departures
  • Unplanned departures
  • Internal talent development

A succession plan should include:

  • A timetable - from notice to end of transition period
  • A review of organization’s strategic direction
  • The development of a leadership profile
  • A recruitment strategy
  • An onboarding and transition plan
  • A communication strategy

Regardless of the age of your Agency, or the tenure of your leader, succession planning may be a timely and important topic to address during your Agency’s next strategic planning efforts.

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Listen in to a podcast from Mary Peterson and Emily Prins on the same topic of succession planning!

Heartbeat International has additional information related to succession planning in our Governing Essentials Manual. Click here to find out more.

Belong, Believe, Behave

Have you been catching Mary's Quick Tips on Facebook? Join the National Maternity Housing Coalition Facebook group to keep getting tips like this one from Mary Peterson.

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3 Key Tips for Increasing Cultural Competency

by Ellen Foell, International Program Specialist, Heartbeat International and Faith Bohlin, Program Manager, Aid for WomenCulturalCompetence

In November 2020, Ellen Foell and Faith Bohlin engaged in an informal conversation on the topic of increasing cultural competency as part of the “Power Conversation” series. This article is a loose representation of that conversation, which is available in its entirety here

Be humble.

  • There is general cultural competency (e.g. like exercising humility and understanding that you don’t understand) as well as specific cultural competencies related to being knowledgeable about traditions, customs, and principles of specific ethnic groups. Start with general principles and then learn about the specific cultures that God has placed you in.
  • Have the humility to apologize when necessary and to seek forgiveness.
  • Ask permission -- Can I hug you? Can I touch your baby?  It is a signal of respect and humility.

Listen very deeply and ask good questions.

  • Things like volume of communication, hand gestures, pace of interaction vary significantly. Take your cues from the person you are interacting with.  As Ellen Foell described it, “Listen with your eyes. Mirror what you are seeing.”
  • Here are some sample questions for your consideration:
    • What would normally happen in your community / culture?
    • What is customary around ____ (pregnancy, birth, birthdays, etc.)?
    • Can you please explain _____ to me?
    • Is there a hidden consequence for moving into our program? For participating with our organization? Does it affect your family?
    • Teach me your favorite food or favorite _____.

Be aware of and celebrate differences.

  • Some cultures are based in honor/shame principles which affect everything from identity, family dynamics, how I present myself in my community, and more. Having an “punishment mentality” (i.e. if you do this, I will do this) with your organizational culture may have unintended consequences for those from a honor/shame based tradition.
  • “I like to use the language of ‘tribe’ (i.e. we are a tribe) for our homes. A tribe is composed of multiple family units, each with their own traditions and ways of doing things.  For me, that is a much more accurate description of what we are creating in our housing program,” described Faith Bohlin. Food is an easy way to explore those differences and celebrate them as a community activity.
  • One effective starting place would be to investigate the “culture of poverty.” As Faith described, “It encompasses all ethnic cultures and really is a culture all to its own that has a big impact of the vulnerable women we serve.”


Recommended Resources

Ruby Payne.  A Framework for Understanding Poverty and/or Bridges out of Poverty

Duane Elmer.  Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility


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