Best Life: Experiencing homelessness while pregnant

Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 5:56 AM CST
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Ivanhoe Newswire) - The homeless population is feeling the aftermath of the pandemic, especially pregnant women who have nowhere to go for shelter or healthcare.

One in five unhoused women gave birth to a baby who was underweight.

While these are tough odds, one special organization is helping many homeless pregnant women to discover a new way to change their trajectory.

Victavia Georges treasures the giggles that come along with playing with her daughter, loyal. A year earlier, she didn’t know if this moment would even be possible.

“I was homeless on the street and pregnant,” said Georges.

She is not alone. Forty-eight percent of women currently living in a shelter in the U.S. are pregnant. Fortunately, Georges found a way out through the San Francisco non-profit, Homeless Prenatal Program founded by Martha Ryan.

“Our focus has always been on pregnant moms and women with small children, helping them get the support they need, so they can exit homelessness,” says Ryan.

Ryan, a trained nurse, changed course when she learned years ago about the crisis many were facing in their lives.

“What went through my mind was, how could this be and how could children be living in cars,” said Ryan.

HPP has become nationally recognized for helping more than 3500 families annually with health care, housing, and aid.

“We believe in the potential of each and every one of the families that walk through our door,” said Ryan.

This includes Georges, who found her true potential when staying at the Homeless Prenatal Program’s Jelani House. It’s a safe haven where unhoused new moms can live and restart their lives.

“We have always wanted to have a place, where women could come to, get the services to help her become the best mother that they could be,” said Ryan.

Georges is now thriving, back in school, and has a job lined up and a new apartment.

“I’m ready to start this new chapter in my life,” said Georges.

Ryan’s Homeless Prenatal Program continues to grow. Next year, it plans to break ground on an affordable housing project, located next to its headquarters in San Francisco.

With grants and donations from the community, the building will consist of 74 units, half of which will be dedicated to homeless families.

Contributors to this news report include: Jennifer Winters, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

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