WILMINGTON — A new, local maternity home for homeless, pregnant teenagers is one step away from opening and taking in those in need. It only needs mother to oversee the house daily.
“It’s the only thing we need,” said Joann Leach, a board member of Angels Awaiting Maternity Home, which purchased the home on Xenia Avenue. “We can open. We’re ready.”
Leach said the group even had three women signed up to come live there and have been receiving phone calls about other potential housemates.
“This is where we need to be,” Leach said, adding that she hopes the organization will expand to other locations in the future.
“We are ready to actually bed four ladies right now,” Secrest said, with the potential of adding more beds later.
Ideally, the house mother would live rent-free at the home and would oversee the home, ensuring there is food in the house, the house is clean and that the resident girls make it to their appointments. She also would teach the girls there several life skills.
Secrest said those who could give two or three days a week but couldn’t live at the home should apply as well. Under that model, several women would take shifts being house mothers.
Secrest said empty-nesters, retired women and those who enjoy children and helping people would be good fits for those positions.
“It could even be someone who has had a life altering experience,” Secrest said, adding she received that kind of feedback at the county fair. “Someone who wants to pay it forward, and she could be any age.”
Secrest said the rent-free home could also help someone living on a fixed income.
“The only thing they’d be paying for is their own phone and car and things like that,” Secrest said. “It would be a perfect setup for someone like that.”
In addition to being homeless, the resident women must be pregnant for the first time and single – those with other children or another adult can still call for directions to other resources but cannot reside in the home.
If a minor applies for entry, she’ll need to either be emancipated or her parents will have to sign over guardianship so financial and health decisions can be made.
Women can be admitted as soon as pregnancy is confirmed, and the group hopes to open more facilities in other areas later.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.