Hannah’s House believes every pregnant woman deserves a firm foundation upon which to raise her children. They help homeless women build this foundation by providing shelter, food, and the life skills necessary to become self-sufficient.
In this charity spotlight, I spoke with the former and current Executive Directors of Hannah’s House, Jessica Leese and Deanna Arnett.
No woman wants to find herself homeless while expecting a child. Without income or the safety of a home, it is not uncommon for a woman in poverty to seek an abortion. And in 1990, the abortion rate for women living in poverty was rising.
Pro-life residents in Lansing decided to take on the insecurities that prevented homeless women from having babies. They would provide a home, food, clothing, guidance, and valuable life skills that a woman may need to become a successful parent.
The founding members started organizing a plan and chose a historical home in Lansing, Michigan as the location for a new shelter. The owner of the home, sympathetic to their mission, generously donated the house to their cause.
Hannah’s House accepted their first residents in 1995.
Expectant mothers can join the house at any time during their pregnancy and stay as long as six months after giving birth. The house is able to help four women at a time and there is no charge for housing, utilities, or food.
Hannah’s House is a Christian-based shelter that offers more than food and shelter. They also give residents the structure and education they need to be self-sufficient when they leave.
Some of the routines and training include devotional studies, parenting lessons, goal building, job attainment, budgeting, and relationship management. Residents must also cook, take care of personal hygiene, and help with chores. The house also helps provide birthing classes, lactation consultants, doulas, and other specialized care.
Hannah’s Attic is another program offered that helps provide child care products for newborns and toddlers. These products include formula, baby food, clothing, strollers, cribs, and more.
Hannah’s House also holds several fundraising events each year, including International Dessert Night and Silent Auction, a screening of Gimme Shelter, Bowl for Babies, and Hike for Hannah’s House.
Hannah’s House raised more money in 2015 than any previous year and it has helped many women and their children. The program has been highly successful overall, too. Over 95% of the women helped were able to transition into their own house with a stable income.
Jessica also reflects on the individual transformations she has seen during her tenure. Getting a diploma, developing important life skills at Hannah’s House, and becoming a mother are great accomplishments, especially when it all happens in 15 months, often less.
Both directors would love to improve the life skills program for residents. Deanna would also like to add a Bavolek Nurturing Parenting to their repertoire. Better pay, compassion training, and cultural competency training for employees would be fantastic. New ways to raise awareness about Hannah’s House and engage the community are ongoing goals as well.
With the right funding, Hannah’s House could also develop a curriculum that could be provided to women without the housing. A lot more people could be helped this way.
Jessica compares running a nonprofit to a wedding. Things will go wrong, but don’t let them get to you. Just be aware that there will be bumps along the way and plan around them. Take your work seriously, but don’t forget to laugh.
She also recommends limiting the duration of board membership. Rotating new people into your organization will help you adapt to change and keep your perspective fresh.
Before you donate to a charity, do a little research so you understand how your money will be used. Asking is a great start, but try to visit, too. It will give you a better understand of what the charity is about and it will help you figure out exactly what they need when you do donate.
If you want to learn more about Hannah’s House, you can reach them by clicking one of the buttons below.