With your due date fast approaching, it can feel overwhelming to try to prepare for a baby while facing instability in housing. Maybe you’re tired of exhausting stays at shelters, you’re trying to do everything you can to leave a toxic environment, or you can’t stay with family or friends for longer than a few days or weeks. You perhaps feel you need a place that will give you the freedom to put down your things for a while and be supported – mentally, physically, and even spiritually – in continuing to build the life you envision for you and your baby.
Maternity Homes are designed to support you through pregnancy and postpartum, to give you a place not only to rest but to work towards all that you would like to see happen for you and your baby. Not run like emergency shelters, maternity home programs include a hands-on application process as well as ongoing programming components (that most often include case management). What’s more, maternity homes are usually tailored to stays of at least 6 months to up to two years.
Maryland and DC are home to several maternity home programs, each with its own unique identity. Especially important to note is when you are eligible to apply, and what initial eligibility criteria for each organization looks like. Please note that some organizations may have residency requirements.
The Northwest Center
Initial Eligibility Criteria: age 18-30, currently pregnant
Maternity Home Location: NW Washington, DC
Set Up: Individual rooms for mothers and children, and shared common spaces within a family-style home
Contact Information: (202) 483-7008
Located in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Northwest Washington, DC, the Northwest Center is home to a Transitional Maternity Home Program as well as a Pregnancy Center. Northwest Center maternity home residents are eligible to stay for up to 18 months as long as program requirements are met, and there is potential to accommodate residents who will be parenting a young child in addition to a newborn.
Apart from a safe, stable home for up to 18 months, program components include weekly case management, referrals for and assistance with obtaining quality day care, connections with a number of community-based agencies, access to health resources, life skills training, financial management and strategy counseling, interpersonal communication skills development, and adherence to household rules that foster what is necessary to care for a family and to maintain a healthy environment in living with others who are parenting, working, attending school, and the like. Maternity Home Program residents receive support from Executive Director Susan Gallucci, LCSW-C, live-in Resident Manager Rachel Torres, and a number of compassionate, trained volunteers.
Initial Eligibility Criteria: age 18+, currently pregnant, would have only newborn in care during maternity home program stay
Maternity Home Locations: Bowie, Gaithersburg, & Ellicott City, MD
Contact Information: Call / Text the Helpline at 301-637-3223
Gabriel Network’s Maternity Home Program is available at three different locations throughout Maryland, and each maternity home is anchored by a Home Director as well as a Case Manager and a group of warm and welcoming resident assistants and volunteers.
Each home is located within a residential neighborhood (reasonably close to stores, restaurants, medical offices, public transportation) and features individual, furnished bedrooms for each mother and baby pair. Common spaces including a kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and office (depending on the Home) are shared. Both individual and group Case Management is offered throughout the Program to help you conquer as many goals as you can during your stay of up to 6 months after your baby is born. Other Programming – a Bible Study and classes – are also important factors in the make-up of a Program. Class topics may include Parenting, Personal Finance, Conflict, and Stress Management.
Initial Eligibility Criteria: age 18+, currently pregnant (additional criteria can be found here)
Maternity Home location: Howard County, MD
Similar to The Northwest Center, Mary’s Home also offers some availability for mothers to have more than one child in their care during their time in the Maternity Home Program. What’s more, applicants are welcome to apply both during pregnancy and after delivery. Run by Executive Director Kelly Obermeyer, Mary’s Home offers a welcoming community environment. Mary’s Home has “created a structured, holistic, free-will program to help mothers work toward sustainable success and independence” (Mary’s Home Maryland).
Mary’s Home Maternity Program features two recently built family homes, designed and constructed by a donor with a heart for the mission of Mary’s Home. This Program, which emphasizes a focus on independent living, has given many families the renewal they needed to focus on the needs and aspirations of their families.
St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth, & Families
Initial Eligibility Requirements:
Maternity Home Location: Hyattsville, MD & Washington, DC
Contact Information: 301-559-5500
St. Ann’s Maternity Home Program is distinctive in offering housing for mothers who are under age 18. St. Ann’s is the DMV area go-to for maternity housing designed for mothers in their teens. Grace House is home to the St. Ann’s Teen Mother and Baby Program, which emphasizes parenting and educational support (on a daily and weekly basis) but also keen attentiveness to the health of the mothers and babies within the Program. “Comprehensive prenatal care is offered to ensure a healthy delivery for mom and baby,” combating the pregnancy complications – premature delivery, low birth weights – that adolescent births are particularly susceptible to be marked by. “Every Grace House resident receives on-site nursing support, one-on-one assistance with newborn care, and prenatal and postpartum wellness care” (St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth, & Families).
Faith House and Hope House offer additional housing opportunities for single mothers “experiencing instability due to pregnancy, trauma, homelessness, or poverty.” While Faith House is comprised of 8 private one-bedroom apartments within a standalone building on St. Ann’s campus, Hope House offers what is most similar to the housing programs named above: single family units with shared common spaces, located within the main building at St. Ann’s.
With a campus style set-up, St. Ann’s is able to provide a variety of resources to clients on site. They include the following:
- Encouragement, guidance, and support from an Employment & Education Counselor
- Parenting and Life Skills Classes offered by Resident & Life Skills Managers
- An affordable, on-site Child-Care Center (as well as local schools within close proximity for children ages 4 and up)
- One-on-one supportive counseling and Case Management from St. Ann’s Social Work Services Department
House of Ruth
Initial Eligibility Requirement: House of Ruth serves women and families who are experiencing domestic violence
Contact Information: 24 Hour Hotline (410) 889-RUTH (7884) | para Español, oprima “8”
6 transitional apartments as well as emergency shelter (comprised of private rooms) are available through House of Ruth to families affected by domestic violence. Further eligibity criteria, exact locations and additional details can be disclosed by House of Ruth Staff. Meanwhile,House of Ruth also offers Referrals, Safety Planning, Resource Referrals, Basic Needs Assistance, Abuse Intervention, Individual and Group Counseling, as well as Legal Clinic Services (with particular regard to Protective/Peace Orders, Custody, and Divorce).
Initial Eligibility Criteria: at least 18 years old, additional criteria can be found here
Contact Information: 410-881-0211
Located in Crownsville, MD, the mission of Chrysalis House, Inc. is to support women and their children through recovery from addiction. Four supportive homes exist within the context of a residential treatment program that offers intensive outpatient care focusing on family preservation, sobriety, parenting skills, employability, and dual diagnosis services. The Program goal is “to provide a safe, sober, structured and sharing environment in which a woman can realize herself as a worthwhile and capable individual.”