Being pregnant should be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life, but for some women in the Piedmont, it’s a time of uncertainty.
Not only are these women pregnant—they’re homeless.
Six mothers call the original Sternberger Mansion located in the historic Aycock neighborhood of Greensboro, “home.”
"The common factor is that they're pregnant and they have no one else to help them,” said Marianne Donadio, vice president of marketing and development for Room at the Inn.
Room at the Inn is a non-profit organization that helps single pregnant women 18 and older before and after they give birth.
"We aim to not only provide a roof over their head, and food, and clothing, but all the services they might need to transition into a future with hope of being self-sufficient and independent one day,” Donadio said.
The program provides life skills classes as well as education and vocational training.
Leah Whaley-Holmes was in the program 10 years ago when she was pregnant with her son.
"The face of homelessness looks like me,” she said.
Whaley-Holmes explained that too often people don’t realize that different roads can lead to homelessness.
"Sometimes it has nothing to do with background because I came from a middle class home and I had both parents in the home, so that wasn’t the issue,” she said.
“The issue is that sometimes you can make some poor choices when you're young and then they just kind of snowball,” she added.
Whaley-Holmes attended Bennett College and went on to earn her master’s degree. Today, she is working as a licensed clinical social worker and licensed addiction specialist in Raleigh.
“Room at the Inn helped grow those seeds in me to serve other people,” she said.
A total of four children can also stay in the house—not including pregnancies.
Room at the Inn does receive some state funding, but relies primarily on local churches, and individual donors for support.
Donors can provide monetary support or household items and clothing to help the mothers transition.
It costs about $600,000 to support women at the four houses the organization operates annually.
The non-profit had to cut programs after grant money fell through in 2013.
Donadio says the program has not fully recovered, but is in good standing.