For almost twenty years, Saint Louise House has taken a two-generation approach to serving families by providing stable housing and comprehensive support services to women and children experiencing homelessness. Mothers find support for improving education and employment opportunities, accessing healthcare and childcare, learning life skills, and becoming better parents. At the same time, children thrive in a safe and supportive environment that includes social and emotional learning groups for every age-level and support for participation in extracurricular activities. With the stability and support Saint Louise House provides, two generations – mothers and children – break the cycle of poverty together.
When the pandemic began, the only technology half of Saint Louise House families had to access the internet was their cell phone. Our community of support rallied together to supply every family with a computer and connectivity. Now, when a family moves into Saint Louise House from homelessness, in addition to a dining room table, a couch, and beds, their new apartment home will include a computer and an internet connection – all for them to take with them when they graduate. We are also supporting Saint Louise House families in learning tech skills, which will be essential for achieving economic security. Now, every mother at Saint Louise House has access for telemedicine, work from home, and online education, and every Saint Louise House child has the world at their fingertips through the internet.
In an effort to serve families better, we recently established a Resident Advisory Council made up of eight Saint Louise House mothers who meet monthly to develop leadership skills and provide feedback and information for program development. While meetings have temporarily moved to Zoom and discussions to a Facebook group, they continue to provide a valuable forum for information about everything from communication with and among families to safety on property. We are also offering daily activities for all age levels to stimulate learning, reduce stress and help keep families connected (weekly schedule pictured).
The community partnerships fostered through the United Way’s Family Pathways are increasing education and employment opportunities for Saint Louise House families. For example, we have been working closely with Foundation Communities, Mainspring Schools, Austin Community College, and Workforce Solutions to develop training opportunities for middle skills jobs that include childcare and funding. Even as the pandemic has disrupted original plans, the community has rallied together to make sure that families are aware of opportunities and resources for accessing additional training.
We are currently focused on ensuring that every mother and child at Saint Louise House is prepared to return to school in the fall. If you would like to sponsor a backpack or Old Navy gift card for any of the over 60 school-age children at Saint Louise House this year, contact email@example.com.