Bill Status:Awaiting Budget Approval
Lack of financial support often plays a key role in the decision of many women as to whether to continue their unwanted pregnancies. The Department of Health Services program provides shelter, food, clothing, and transportation for health services and support to homeless pregnant women and their children under the age of one. This support can be the difference between a woman choosing to end or continue her pregnancy.
Center for Arizona Policy recommends the program be increased from its current funding of $100,000 to $200,000 per fiscal year.
The Arizona Legislature has budgeted $100,000 each of the past two years for the department of health services to distribute for homeless pregnant women services. The budget reconciliation bill language reads as follows:
The department of health services shall distribute monies appropriated for homeless pregnant women services to nonprofit organizations that are located in a county with a population of more than three million persons and whose primary function is to provide shelter, food, clothing and transportation for health services and support to homeless pregnant women and their children who are under the age of one year. Monies may not be granted for abortion referral services or distributed to entities that promote, refer or perform abortions.
During the last two years, the funds have been available to organizations like Maggie’s Place, which “provides life-changing programs and services for pregnant and parenting women and their children by offering a warm and welcoming community, a safe place to live and learn, and on-going services to help them become self-sufficient.” (maggiesplace.org).
Chief Executive Officer of Maggie’s Place, Laura Magruder reports a 38% increase in bed nights due to the money received under the current program. The center housed 130 women, 43 babies and 94 children last year. All of the mothers received prenatal care and counseling, among other services. Many completed drug rehabilitation, studied for their GED, or enrolled in a trade school or college.
“Before coming to Maggie’s Place, I was pregnant, sleeping on the side of the highway, and was getting high. Maggie’s Place helped me into rehab, and allowed me to rejoin the community when I was done. I have had a constant stability in my life that I didn’t have before MP. I don’t have the fear of homelessness that I had before. It holds me accountable. Now I am 11 months sober, almost one year. MP saved mine and my daughter’s life.” -Victoria
“I was living in my car at 6 months pregnant. Maggie’s Place has given me a roof over my head, the necessities I need to find a job, and is helping me get on my feet to get housing. They saved me.” -Angela
Increasing the allocation from $100,000 to $200,000 will increase the number of homeless pregnant women served by qualifying nonprofit organizations like Maggie’s Place.
The additional funding for homeless pregnant women services will increase the number of homeless pregnant women and infant children being served by qualifying nonprofits. This support can be the difference between a woman choosing to end or continue her pregnancy.