The first step is the Emergency Program, a short-term solution for pregnant women to have immediate shelter for up to 30 nights. This allows women to remove themselves from negative situations, such as relationship violence, drug abuse, or prostitution.
Since the organization does not allow women to repeat any level of the program, residents at this stage have the opportunity to decide whether to pursue the next step, the Transitional Program. Here, women have lodging for about two to six months, or until about two months after their baby's birth. During that time, they participate in several character and professional development classes. They are also encouraged to reunite with their families to develop a proper support system.
If reunification with family is not possible, then the women may apply for the Single Parent Efficiency Program, which allows the mother to stay until the child is two years old. In order to qualify, the residents must have a full-time job and participate in more self-improvement courses.
For Cordiella, the programs at Precious Life Shelter offered support in gathering the identification documents necessary to find a job, and maintaining accountability in fighting substance abuse.
"Anything that you need, they help you out with…When I entered the program, I had 25 dollars and a bag of clothes, that weren't even mine…to (now) having a two-bedroom apartment for me and my son," Cordiella told CNA.
"They give you an apartment, so you have to learn how to clean it, to maintain it, to take care of your child, while holding down a full-time job."
Although reconnecting with her parents would not be healthy right now, Cordiella said she has found support through the women at the shelter, calling them her "handpicked family from God."
As Precious Life continues to grow, Cordiella will be entering the shelter's new permanent housing program, which will offer four women access to two-bedroom apartments at a discounted rate.
Before entering the program, many of these women have no idea how to take care of themselves or their child, Murphy said.
But their transformations are profound and joy-filled, she continued, explaining that some women even return to give back to the shelter.
"We see those clients coming back to us either as board members, educators and mentors to our clients, or are now paying it forward to share apartments so [other women will] have a safe place to stay," Murphy said.
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