Mothers with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
And the response needed to change this heartbreaking reality is more complex and challenging than any other trend in homelessness we've seen. Discover the wraparound care we provide for mothers and children at Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center through Help, Heart, and Home.
When a mother decides to leave a toxic relationship, she risks losing stability; and even if that stability is unhealthy, it might be the only stability she's ever known -- or better than the alternative. The truth is, short and long-term emergency shelter options for families are dwindling in the city of Cleveland. Those options that do exist are overcrowded, understaffed, and offer limited lengths of stay. Even if a mother can obtain room in a family shelter, she is likely to feel unsafe and/or run out of time to both find work and housing to support her family.
At Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center, our program for women and children, we make every effort to remove those barriers of fear. When a mom and her kids make the often humbling decision to call us, they know they will be moving in to a safe environment. From the security team at our front desk, to the assignment of a private room, families who come to Laura's Home are immediately welcomed with love. Mothers can begin to rest, knowing that three hot meals will be provided each day, their children are protected as they lay down each night, and the facilities are maintained and cleaned with care.
Our campus regularly hosts approximately 60 women and 90 children at Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center every night. Our private rooms can host families big and small, allowing moms and kids to bond and work together in safe spaces. We work quickly to restore dignity to our guests by immediately providing toiletries, clothing, strollers, and any other essentials a family might require.
Help is not only our first phase for families, but often the first opportunity a mother has to rest from despair, and a child to rest from confusion.
In the Heart phase, moms and kids begin their journey toward restoration and self-sufficiency. This is where assisting a family becomes more complicated. While individuals in our programs need to determine plans for housing and employment, mothers also need to establish achievable, yet adequate education, childcare, and transportation options.
In every part of the Heart process our staff addresses moms and kids in ways that are sensitive to the trauma many families have experienced. While a caseworker comes alongside a mother to plot out practical steps to reach goals, our childcare team provides a safe, caring environment where kids can thrive. Moms can participate in chapel, vocational training, and mental health groups knowing that their children are engaged in fun, educational programming. Our highly trained Pathways and childcare staff work closely with special education experts and children's schools to diagnose developmental delays and implement plans to give kids the best chance of success.
For families, the Heart stage is about building trust and skills needed to work together toward a healthy future.
Establishing a supportive environment is critical for a family's success. In the final stage, moms and kids seek Home, which is not just a place, but a community. Moms are newly equipped to find jobs and resources that can support their family. They work with our Resource Center to determine budgets and find housing in school systems that will meet the needs of their children. And they also restore and build loving relationships to replace the ones that first led them to crisis.
Home looks different for every family, but our ultimate goal is a home that it is sustainable, safe, and loving for all in a way that breaks generational cycles of poverty.
Watch Tauri's Family's Journey Home
New Horizons: A Way Home
In Ohio, a single mother working a minimum wage job — the work most of our guests are eligible for — must work 100 hours each week to afford a basic two-bedroom apartment (read more). The City Mission is addressing this critical need for affordable housing through the New Horizons Housing Collaborative. Through this incredibly transformative program, we work with external organizations to empower women with children to become homeowners and break the cycle of poverty. If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring or volunteering services for a New Horizons home, please email Ashley Field, our Community Outreach Coordinator.
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