In many cities around the United States, figuring out how to care for, and house, the homeless is a challenging issue. One group that often gets overlooked in these discussions is pregnant women. That’s where Harvest Home comes in.began in 1985 when a woman in Santa Monica, California opened her home to a pregnant young woman who was living on the streets. Since then, Harvest Home has grown into a residential program that “transforms the lives of homeless pregnant women and their children by providing housing, support, and programs that equip women to become great mothers.”
It’s estimated that every year in Los Angeles, 5,000 women are homeless at some point during their pregnancy. Despite these numbers, there are less than 70 shelter beds available in the city for women who are pregnant and in crisis. Harvest Home recognized these women would benefit from specialized interventions and created programs with these needs in mind.
It starts with a 30-60 day stay in the Venice Home. Here pregnant women participate in case management, therapy and programming to assess their short-term needs and set plans for lasting independence. In this short video women explain the impact of having their own room and participating in the program.
Next is the Pico Home, where participants can stay for up to 6 months after giving birth. While here, pregnant women and new moms participate in case management, therapy and educational classes on topics such as child care, financial literacy, and mental and physical health. The goal is for the women to establish long term stability and transition out of homelessness. The final step is joining the Alumnae Program. As alumnae of Harvest Home, women are eligible for ongoing case management, support and access to resources such as diapers.
The impact Harvest Home is having is impressive. They serve up to 70 women and families in their residential program each year, for a total of over 540 since they began. Of these program participants, 90% transition into stable housing, 95% are active in the alumnae program, and 100% of the women maintain custody of their children.
If you’d like to support Harvest Home and the work they do with pregnant women there are many ways to do so. Those of you living in the Los Angeles area can volunteer your time. All of us can donate items or money and spread the word on social media. Follow Harvest Home on Facebook and on Instagram.