“Casa Teresa is a home for pregnant women who are homeless, or alone, but it’s so much more than a homeless shelter,” says Casa Teresa CEO Lisa Wood. “We really bring women in and just love them and provide support services to help them on their journey, because usually they come from difficult circumstances, which leads them here.”
OC Catholic TV talked with Shelby, a woman who found Casa Teresa through a friend a church. She now calls the shelter home. Before she arrived, she had to give up her son to her parents because of her troubles with drugs and alcohol. Finding herself pregnant again, she had nowhere to turn. Casa Teresa took her in and she hopes to soon have custody of her firstborn and then to raise both her children in a loving environment. Shelby details her hopes in the video below.
The difference between just a shelter and a home, says Wood, is the case management strategy. Each woman is assigned a case manager who monitors their progress and their growth from the time they arrive throughout their stay and beyond.
Anna, a 28-year-old new mother, shares how she chose Casa Teresa over having an abortion. She says her case manager provided life-changing guidance. You can hear her story in the video below.
Dr. James Pugh, executive program director, says that over the last 40 years as many as 5,000 mothers have been helped. He is hopeful that someday there won’t be a need for shelters such as Casa Teresa.
“I think the future for this whole population — the more we can build healthier moms, they’re going to have healthier children,” says Pugh, “so we can have a healthier cycle… I think eventually it will quiet down some – the need for these kinds of programs in the next 40 years or so because we’ll have healthier kids.”