Foundation House Ministries opened its doors to mothers and pregnant women in crisis on May 24, 2014. The nonprofit is the only maternity home in the region that provides financial, emotional and physical support to pregnant women or women with newborns who struggle with addiction, homelessness and joblessness, officials said. Since its opening, the nonprofit has helped 120 residential clients and 600 nonresidential clients.
Roughly 70 percent of clients in the ten-week program at Foundation House Ministries arrive with no GED or high school diploma and most of them have little or no job experience. The nonprofit prepares its clients for permanent jobs and housing through education and trauma-informed care.
Since its opening, the organization has expanded its job training program, preparing 720 women for jobs through the manufacturing and selling of candles and lotions in a shop called Healing Springs Gifts. Executive Director and Founder Suzanne Burns says the job training program started with the manufacturing of candles. “Eight years later, Healing Springs Gifts has a storefront, and the mothers are learning vital job skills like time management, budgeting, customer service, basic accounting and inventory management,” said Ms. Burns.
Foundation House Ministries purchased a 10-acre lot in 2019 in Cleveland that now holds two houses, with plans for a third. Ms. Burns says they are in the process of applying for grants to keep up with the demand of women needing their services. “We opened our satellite office in Ooltewah this year and we’ve already received more calls in one quarter than all of 2020. As we look forward to the next eight years, we want to build more housing, expand operations into surrounding counties and conduct public workshops about trauma-informed care,” she said.
She says their work is fulfilling, but also necessary. “Often these women need help, but they don’t know how to obtain it. They just need someone to walk side-by-side with them. Fear of the positive holds back women from coming into our program because they fear the unknown. They’ve learned to survive in the harsh today and have no idea how to maintain a positive tomorrow. The devil you know is easier than the devil you don’t know,” said Ms. Burns.
Foundation House Ministries store, Healing Springs Gifts, is located at 258 Broad St. NW in Cleveland. The organization’s satellite office is located at Ooltewah Baptist Church. To learn more about volunteer or donation opportunities, visit foundationhouseministries.org.