Maternity housing programs are a special part of the spectrum of services offered by pregnancy help organizations. Heartbeat is delighted that you are considering this ministry. The Scriptures are very clear that we must help those in need by meeting their needs.
For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in (Matthew 25:35 NASB).
We are seeing homes develop independently as well as in partnership with other pregnancy help organizations.
It is important to lay a good foundation in every ministry and this is certainly true for a housing ministry. This work requires great faith and strength and planning. Below are a few things to initially consider.
1. Gather data and information on the needs in your community. Talk to other ministry leaders and understand their perceptions of “gaps in services.” Have a solid understanding of the existing resources in your area. Gather research on unique factors that affect your community. This information will both inform your vision and help make a case for future donors.
2. Begin to write down your vision and how you see it unfolding. Be as specific as possible.
Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets,that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time;it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay (Habakkuk 2:2-3 NASB).
3. Make plans to visit existing programs. See what other housing ministry locations and programs may be in existence already by visiting the Worldwide Directory. Just type in your city or zip code and it will show you the life-affirming organizations that already exist in your area. To focus on housing organizations, use the Directory Code “Housing.”
4. Look for a small group of people to work with you as you plan. It is often a small group of key visionaries (sometimes called a Founding Committee) who set the cornerstones of the vision in place, recognizing that changes will be made along the way. Eventually, these people could be the beginning of your Board.
5. Be aware of the regulations that govern the work. In the US, a 501(c)3 and/or fiscal agent relationship is necessary to receive tax-deductible gifts. Understand state-level guidelines that impact housing organizations. Research the city-level regulations related to being a “group home” or having a “special use permit.”
6. Start working on a budget. Initial resources may be thought of as Seed Money (funding to begin the ministry) or Capital (funding for purchase of large ticket items like a property, vehicle, computer network, etc). Over time, you will prepare an Operating Budget to outline the annual expense of running the ministry. As needed, begin learning about fundraising strategies and create a fundraising plan.
We look forward to walking with you as you begin this journey. Housing is a beautifully messy ministry filled with life-changing relationships. It is your opportunity to change the life of others…and be changed in the process! Welcome to the maternity housing community!
We pray God’s blessing on you as you consider this very important ministry of the pro-life community.
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