A Church-Based Approach to Ending Family Homelessness

Four Walls for Baby Trent

Bridge of Hope baby

Melony was working two jobs — one until the eighth month of her pregnancy, the other until the ninth — but was behind on her student loans, couldn’t keep up with her bills, and had no maternity-leave benefits.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she says. “I wanted that three months. I wanted to be able to bond with him, too.”

Melony was living in a motel when she did an online search for “assistance for pregnant woman” and found Hannah’s House, where women can live and learn about pregnancy and parenting.  Director Karen DeLucenay visited Melony in the hospital when Trent was born.

“It’s good to know somebody cares about you, because I don’t have a lot of family here,” Melony says. “When I came home after my C-section, I had time to rest and recuperate in a safe place.  The other residents hold him or the staff will relieve me.  It’s kind of nice to have that help.  He gets a lot of love,” she says.

Melony applied to Bridge of Hope Saint Joseph County (now Bridge of Hope @ Hannah’s House).  She will receive help with rental assistance, career mapping and budgeting, as she prepares for life after Hannah’s House.  She and Trent will also have new mentoring friends from a local church.

“I’m able to stay here until he’s 2 months old,” Melony says. “The good thing about it is in that time period, I have time to figure out where I’m going to go now and what it’s going to be like for him and me.”

adapted from South Bend Tribune article, December 24, 2011