Campus in Houston Now Houses Five Families as a Part of the PCHAS Single Parent Family Program

PCHAS Houston Campus

In October of 2014, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services opened a Single Parent Family Program campus in Houston. Designed as a small community that offers single parent families a safe place to live, the program also offers counseling and other services designed to get them back on their feet.

Currently, there are five families living in the transitional housing program with room for one more family, who will move in by the beginning of the summer. The sixth mother moving in will come to the program directly from the hospital with her newborn baby to a brand new home!

“We are so honored to serve these families by offering a safe, nurturing and stable environment.   The mothers and their children have been adjusting well in their new homes. Each mother has a unique background and a unique set of professional, personal and family goals that PCHAS is working hard to help them accomplish. I am so proud of the mothers and of the progress they have made with the help of the resources the campus provides. We are working hard to create a tight-knit community on the campus. The moms participate in regular meetings with me and the other moms. They also receive one-on-one case management, counseling, parenting classes and employment skills training. Plans are underway to begin a Bible study on the campus,” said Melissa Jackson, director of the Houston Single Parent Family Program.

The single mothers in the program are all working, going to school or participating in job training while raising their children on their own. They have faced, and are still facing, many challenges. “They are working really hard, these moms. We tailor the program to each mother’s busy work and school schedule. Meetings, case management and counseling all take place on the campus,” said Melissa.

When one of the mothers, Jennifer, entered the program, she had lost her job and her car. PCHAS helped her find a child care facility within walking distance of the campus and helped her get a job with Houston’s Independent School District. “Her previous job was unstable, did not have health benefits and the salary was very low. There was no room for her to grow professionally. However, in her new job, she will not only have a higher salary and benefits, but also will be able to grow in the position. We encourage the moms to explore various career options; encourage them to not just get any job, but a job that is going to be stable and offer room for growth,” said Melissa.

Because she could not pay her rent, another mother in the program, Valerie, was facing eviction when she learned about PCHAS. She has three young children, one of whom is still a baby. Since she and her children moved to campus, she has enrolled in a teaching certification program, and is hoping to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher. PCHAS has connected her with an organization that has awarded her a $3,000 scholarship. The scholarship is designed to benefit mothers returning to school. PCHAS also gave Valerie a brand new laptop computer to use while she is in school. “I would have never been able to return to school without a safe place to live and this program,” she said.

The children have adjusted well to their new environment. PCHAS provides childcare, which allows the mothers to focus on working toward their goals. The program provides structure that helps the children function well educationally and emotionally. Each child has his/her own space and his/her own bed, something that is new to some of them. “PCHAS is thrilled to give these children the safety of a new home and a more secure life to share with their mothers,” said Melissa.

These are just a few of many success stories to come. Melissa and the directors of PCHAS’ other Single Parent Family Programs (in San Antonio, Waxahachie and Weatherford) are certain of that. PCHAS will impact the lives of many families to come.

For more information and to see a videotaped interview with one of the single moms in our program, visit http://texas.pchas.org/single-parent-family-program

By Lindsay Sloan