Home for moms, children is closing

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

The Arbor House will close March 8 after 30 years of providing long-term housing to homeless adult pregnant women and single mothers with children under five years of age with no place to go.

The Arbor House was going to close in March 2011 because of financial woes and management issues, but it received a reprieve when Catholic Charities agreed to take over management and to help find additional donations and grants to keep the doors open.

But Catholic Charities couldn't make Arbor House self-sustaining, so the agency will not be renewing its management agreement.

Audrie Harris, chairperson of the Arbor House Board of Directors, said the board will dispose of the Arbor House property and then cease to exist. She said the property consists of two small houses connected by a walkway with a shared yard.

Because Arbor House was built with grant funding, the property would have to go to another charity. Harris said the board is looking at the terms of the grant to determine if the property has to go to a charity that helps the homeless.

"We're looking for another charity to take the property over," Harris said.

John Barli, regional director of Catholic Charities, said drastic cuts were done in an effort to keep Arbor House running, but sustainable income was the problem. Barli said it takes $250,000 to run Arbor House, and although donations are good, grants are what provide a steady and sustainable funding source.

"It has been an uphill battle," Barli said. "We've given it our best."

Arbor House was established in 1983 to provide long-term housing for homeless adult pregnant women and single mothers with children under five years of age with no place to go.

The women could live at Arbor House for up to four years, while they pursued goals leading to self-sufficiency. While there, they were required to pursue educational enrichment programs and they were given the opportunity to participate in financial fitness classes, parenting and life skills classes and counseling sessions.

Barli said there are five women currently living in the house and the goal is to transition them into a nurturing environment. "We're working with them to make sure they will be taken care of," Barli said.

"It's disheartening we can't continue this mission and help these women," said Harris. "Catholic Charities has done everything they could, and gave us another year."

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