The mission of Saint Louise House is to empower women with children to overcome homelessness and to build a future of independence and stability. We not only provide housing, we help each mother develop and complete a comprehensive, personalized self-sufficiency plan for life beyond Saint Louise House.
As part of our 15th anniversary celebration, Saint Louise House created a Legacy Circle, a special group of donors who have committed to change and empower generations of lives by giving a gift of $1,000 or more annually.
Saint Louise House continues to offer more than just a home for our families.
Women come to Saint Louise House with much more to overcome than just homelessness. Other challenges include criminal backgrounds, a history of family violence or other abuse, diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues, substance abuse, legal challenges, poor credit history, lack of income and education, and limited support networks.
Our on-site case managers help each mother develop and complete a comprehensive, personalized self-sufficiency plan for life beyond Saint Louise House. The plan focuses on each woman's strengths, resources and abilities.
This plan is the "secret sauce" of Saint Louise House. By the time a mother moves out, she has developed tools to ensure success in the next phase of the journey - a hope-filled future for herself and her children.
Impact StatementSince opening its doors in 2001, Saint Louise House has provided deeply affordable and supportive housing to 163 families with 350 children to overcome their experience of homelessness. Mothers improve their education and employment, develop positive rental histories, address health and legal barriers to self-sufficiency, and become role models for their children. As families stabilize and their incomes rise, opportunities for children increase and the cycle of poverty is broken for two generations, mothers and children.
Families who have resided at Saint Louise House at least one year see an average 13% increase in their self-sufficiency score. In the past two years alone, 16 families have achieved their goals and gained the confidence they needed to graduate from Saint Louise House, making room for new families to start their journeys out of homelessness and poverty.
Needs StatementOver 2,300 students in Austin ISD schools were identified as homeless last year. These children are sick more often and experience more emotional and behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and developmental delays than housed children and are likely to continue in the cycle of poverty inherited from their parents. Over 80 percent of homeless families are led by women. These mothers cannot address the problems of their children or their own education, health or employment challenges because they are stretched too thin struggling to meet the everyday challenges of what to eat and where to sleep. They face immense challenges to self-sufficiency: their average income on entry is $10,000 a year, over 70 percent have experienced domestic violence, and over 40 percent have been homeless multiple times. These families need more time and support than emergency shelters can offer, but do not meet the income and background check requirements of other affordable housing programs.
Saint Louise House provides these families the stability and support they need to develop self-sufficiency.
Over 50 mothers call Saint Louise House month after to month to maintain their status on our waiting list.
It costs Saint Louise House about $25,000 per year to provide housing and supportive services for one family.
$25 - Bus transportation for a month for a mother to get her children to child care and herself to a job
$50 - Hygiene products for a month for three families
$80 - High chair for a baby
$120 - After-school activities for one child
$480 - Housing and services for a week
$1,000 -- Six months of food for 100 women and children. In addition, a $1,000 donation qualifies a donor to be a member of our Legacy Circle.
"Coming to our furnished apartment [at Saint Louise House] gave me hope and faith for a new beginning with my children. When we arrived, there was a warm dinner on the apartment table; that was a big thing, and it brought tears to my eyes. You get a nice bed, food to eat, even flowers to smell and enjoy on your table. I felt it was too good to be true. I could not believe that there were people who would put a home together for families who lost everything." - Saint Louise House Mother
"I want to thank everyone who helps to fund this wonderful program. I am also very thankful for staff in the program who are always very nice, helpful and kind to me and my family. Thank you." - Saint Louise House Mother
"I felt glorious when they showed us the apartment! The apartment set up was beautiful, the kids were so happy-they were running around back and forth inside the apartment, saying it was beautiful, there was just so much space! I like my home because I feel very independent. I have my own home. I have a sense of tranquility, comfort, and liberation." - Saint Louise House mother
"Living here at Saint Louise House has made life so much easier. Not only for my mom, but for the family. The hardships that we were going through affected me, my personality, and even my grades. There wasn't really a place where I could study with peace and quiet. Simply, my grades were slipping and affecting me from being the best I could be in school. Once my mom told me we were eligible to get an apartment at Saint Louise House, I felt so relieved. Saint Louise House made us feel right at home. They took us in and made sure we were all ok and provided us with anything we needed. I had my own room again, which made me feel a lot more comfortable. I was able to study now because of the peaceful environment. My grades started to rise back up, and I eventually made it to the top of the 2nd quarter of my class! I felt accomplishment simply because I thought I wasn't going to be able to achieve as much because of our situation, but after my family felt at ease, I realized that much more good will come our way if we just open the doors. Every holiday was as special as ever. This is an example of how the world should be, helping each other out when someone is down. That's what creates success. I will be headed to college this fall, and in four years I will come back with a computer science bachelor degree. I thank Saint Louise House for all they have done and much more. My family and I love you all dearly." - Jeremy, age 17, left Saint Louise House in Fall 2013 for his first semester in college