Healthy mothers living in community
At Emma House, expectant mothers are welcomed into a safe, supportive, loving, family-like environment – one in which they encouraged to make the most of their present and to plan for the future. Each woman receives her own bedroom, counseling, and support. Women are also offered time to find long-term housing and to decide whether to place her baby for adoption or raise the child on her own.
For many new arrivals, Emma House offers the first loving, disciplined environment they have ever experienced. The guidelines for all residents include daily chores, curfews, and attending school, going to a job each day, or doing regular volunteer work. These guidelines provide consistent structure for the women as their delivery dates approach.
Live-in Supervisors and the Program Director oversee Emma House, to ensure the women’s safety. The Program Director and her husband are often the first models of a mutually supportive married couple that the expectant mothers have ever witnessed. Together the Program Director and Supervisors help teach beneficial life, nutritional and parenting skills to empower residents and their babies.
Two local police officers established a shelter dedicated solely to meeting the needs of pregnant women who were desperately seeking a place to live.
In 1992 Emma House welcomed its first resident in a rented church manse. Initiated by two police officers and a group of individuals concerned about the lack of support and shelters available for pregnant homeless women. Emma House became the only shelter dedicated to reaching out to women who were vulnerable to homelessness while pregnant.
In years since, Emma House has provided shelter and support to over 140 expectant mothers from across Canada; encouraging women to build new lives away from violence, poverty, or addiction.
In response to a growing waiting list for long-term housing, Emma House has lengthened the stay for women and newborn babies, allowing them to stay up to six months while securing long term housing.
"At first I was angry, I was pregnant and felt abandoned by everyone. It didn’t take me long, however, to warm up to the house parents. They made me feel right at home . . . I felt like I could breathe for the first time in three years. It was so refreshing to have someone who really cared just listen to me."
— Shawna placed her baby for adoption and returned to school. She is now married and a mother again.
Although Calgary has more than 50 agencies working to address homelessness, only three—including Emma House—are focused on meeting the needs of pregnant women. Collectively, these three agencies can accommodate about 20 women at a time. Other pregnant women are being forced to live in temporary emergency shelters—not knowing from one night to the next where they will stay.
The need for Emma House’s services is greater now than it ever has been. To meet that need, we require your help!
Emma House has been supported by a very committed group of individuals, organizations, churches, and businesses.
Thanks to a very generous donation in 2007, from a long-time supporter, Emma House was able to acquire our own building in Calgary. In 2016, Emma House was able to expand its facilities in order to house more women facing vulnerable and often dangerous situations.
Emma House continues to pay a variety of other ongoing operating costs. They also need to accumulate savings for costs such as: renovations and continued expansion, transportation to transport residents to and from doctor appointments, hospitals, work, etc..
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