psychosocial issues

Mamas on Bedrest: Homeless Mamas

November 28th, 2012

These are the messages that I hate to receive.

A pregnant mama is about to be evicted from her home and has no where to go,

or

A pregnant mama has psychosocial issues and is about to become homeless and has no resources. 

I am constantly dismayed by the fact that here in the United States, one of the richest nations on the planet, we have pregnant women and their families facing homelessness at a time when mama should be resting, stress free and tending to her needs and the needs of her baby. If there are concerns about a pregnancy becoming high risk, sending mama and her family out onto the streets is a sure fire way to see that mama and baby become at even higher risk for pregnancy complications, preterm labor and premature birth.

I could embark on a litany of rants regarding the lack of paid maternity leave here in the US, disparities in access to quality, affordable prenatal care or biases and discrimination against pregnant women. But those are topics for another day. Today, in this post, we are going to share resources for mamas on bedrest (or about to go on bed rest as was the case with the call that I received)-and those who love and/or care for them-who may be facing homelessness.

I have to admit, finding resources for homeless mamas or mamas about to become homeless is not my forte or the main focus of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond. However, it is a forte and service provided by our sister organization Better Bedrest. My friend and colleague Joanie Reisfeld is the Executive Director of Better Bedrest, so she was my first “go to” when I received this call.

“Unfortunately we see this all to often,”says Reisfeld. “We just had 2 cases of near eviction last week.”

Better Bedrest offers individual support to Mamas on Bedrestas well as micro-grants to mamas demonstrating financial need. In terms of housing options for mamas, Reisfeld had these options:

1. Catholic Charities-Catholic Charities provides aid to people in need nationwide. They have a wide variety of resources.

2. LifeCall– The mission of LifeCall is to save babies lives and shelter their young mothers while providing education and ongoing compassionate support services. They further educate young people to make healthy life choices and also shelter women who are homeless, sick and elderly and we help them to restore their dignity.

What I really like about LIfeCall is that they are “Pro-Action!” They have taken their stance of being “Pro-Life” and actually put it into action! They offer counseling and resources to mothers.

I realize that many women may be put off by the fact that LifeCall is a pro-life organization and is affiliated with the Crisis Pregnancy Centers. However, this is an organization that has dedicated itself to helping pregnant women in need since 1981 and regardless of their political or religious views, they have put themselves out there as a resource for aid for all mamas.They have affiliations with facilities throughout the United States and can assist with temporary housing. Mamas in need will have to assess if LifeCall is for them, but I am presenting their services and website as a resource.

We also found,

3. Pregnancy and Children – This website provides assistance to pregnant mamas in need of health care, advice regarding adoption and social services such as housing.  They have general information as well as information by state.

4. Local Departments of Health and Human Services – These websites contain information on pretty much all the health services provided in the United States as well as the specific services provided at individual sites within each state. They also list a wealth of information on social services provided by their offices.

This list of resources is rather brief, but that doesn’t mean that there are limited resources. If a mama is homeless or about to become homeless, her best option is to check with her local agencies in order to assess what services are available in her area. Trying to provide information for individual states, let alone individual counties, cities and towns would be just out of hand. So I refer you to the US Department of Health and Human Services and recommend that you peruse their website, find the link to your state and area and see what is available for you. You can also use google to find services in your area. And of course, if you aren’t sure where to start of how to proceed, we are happy to help. Send an e-mail to info@mamasonbedrest.com and we’ll see what we can find for you.

Hopefully none of you reading this post will ever need our services in this capacity, but if you do, we are more than happy to help.