In partnership with the City of San Francisco, HPP launched a transitional housing shelter for pregnant women in the Bayview District. This site opened in 2020 and shelters pregnant and post-partum individuals (approximately 6 month stays), providing 24-hour support, as well as assistance with permanent housing. A former convent turned transitional living facility, Jelani House is well-suited for this use. The facility has ample community gathering spaces (a large living room and various smaller community spaces, a large kitchen and dining area, a deck and backyard), as well as 17 small, private rooms for residents. Moreover, Jelani House builds community for new mothers as they overcome the challenges – and celebrate the joys – of new parenting while working toward stability.
Homeless pregnant women are less likely to seek prenatal care, increasing risks for perinatal health issues affecting both baby and mother. In fact, an estimated 1 in 5 homeless, pregnant women give birth prematurely (double the national rate), posing both immediate and lifelong health challenges for the newborn. Furthermore, unstably-housed pregnant women are more likely to face life-threatening complications that need medical intervention, as well as chronic illnesses and mental health challenges (including perinatal depression). Aside from the health consequences of perinatal homelessness, there is a public cost at stake. Adverse birth outcomes often result in lengthy hospital stays and neonatal intensive care (NICU), which bears a public financial burden. A single day in the NICU is more expensive than two months of emergency housing for a family.
Approach to Services
HPP specializes in providing services to young families, and homeless individuals, with the belief that pregnancy is often a window of opportunity for families to work toward health and stability. Noting the varied challenges homeless, pregnant women often face, HPP uses an evidenced-based, trauma-informed approach to family care. Jelani House will offer a comprehensive array of services for residents, including:
- Case Management
- Health Advocacy
- Prenatal Education & Parenting Classes
- Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga
- Nutrition & Cooking Classes
- Individual & Group Therapy
- Life-Skills including Financial Education, Budgeting & Housing Search
HPP is delighted to create a model program at Jelani House, and is committed to creating a healing home that is not only functional but also fosters stability while residents acclimate to motherhood.
Exits to Permanent Housing
As the average intended length of stay for residents at Jelani is approximately 6 months, all residents will receive financial counseling while working 1:1 with a Housing Specialist so that they can exit to permanent housing as soon as they are ready. Though the housing market in San Francisco is incredibly challenging, HPP has applied this model to other programs at the agency with overwhelming success. The agency looks forward to helping residents of Jelani find — and retain — permanent housing following their stay.
How You Can Help
Because Jelani House is made possible in partnership with the City of San Francisco, its operating budget is nearly secured with public funds. However, HPP recognizes that additional funds will enhances service offering at the site. Additional support will help supply residents with maternity and newborn essentials, encourage nutritional education, enhance programming with special projects and create an edible and educational garden in the large backyard space.