For too long, the South Side of Chicago has lacked ample support for pregnant mothers in difficult situations. As hard times and societal pressures cripple a mother’s ability to provide a happy home for her baby, unexpected pregnancies too often press mothers into emergency situations, and more lives and livelihoods are unnecessarily lost in an area of the city where life is too often lost, and economic challenges mount. In the course of our ministry, we’ve encountered too many women who felt their they've had no choice.
A vision of hope...
In the Spring of 2022, Pastor Charles Moodie and his wife Kehinde were praying about how they could help bring hope to women in our community. In so many cases, women came to the church asking for help because they wanted to start a family and stay in our community, but life's circumstances made them feel like they had no other choice but to leave Chicago for help or to end their pregnancies. They wanted to provide care and support for these pregnant mothers. Their prayers led them to work to build a home for these women, to provide them with a real choice, no matter what situation they find themselves in. Chicago City Life Center (CCLC) was started in the early 90s to care for the Englewood community across the street from the Robert Taylor Homes. The church purchased and restored the former St. Anne's (later St. Charles Lwanga) Catholic Parish campus, renovating the auditorium building and rectory into a church & outreach center, a daycare, and staff housing. Today, under the leadership of the Moodies, we're working to renovate the last remaining building on our campus, a 14,000 sq. ft. former convent building, into 15 apartments and programming space to house, care for, and resource women and their young families.
Living homeless with her son, when Sunday found out she was pregnant again, she seriously considered ending her pregnancy. Fearful of bringing another life into her already chaotic world but encouraged by her church and family to keep the baby, she decided to have her baby boy, trusting the church community to support her. Once she gave birth to her son Malik, she stayed in church housing for 7 months free of charge. While living at CCLC, Sunday received job training, daycare, and the supplies she needed to create a strong foundation for her family. She was determined to create a better life for Malik and his older brother. Today she lives in her own apartment with her two sons.
Mothers across the Southside of Chicago deserve the same support Sunday received.
While we already have the building, we need to renovate and build up our organization in order to prepare to host mothers and the staff we need to run a thriving home.
Phase I - Planning
During the planning phase, we need to do the work of recruiting community partners, assembling building plans and preparing a team of contractors to renovate our facility. Additionally, we’ll need to work with lawyers to secure the necessary permits. We anticipate spending about $100K during this phase.
Phase II - Construction
Chicago City Life Center owns an old, unused building that previously served as a convent, but has since been converted to an open floor plan primarily used for storage. We will need to convert the interior of the building into apartments, office space, and program space for our facility to properly function as a maternity home. We’ll also need to fully furnish the facility and install appropriate security measures. Additionally, we’ll need to pave the rear parking lot behind the building. We’ve received some basic estimates that the project will cost around $5.5 million to complete in the current Chicago market. We anticipate spending $5.5 million during this phase.
Phase III - Preparation
During the preparation phase, we will prepare programming, establish policies and hire staff to run the maternity home. We are looking to hire an executive director, case workers, security personnel, and an administrator as we begin to welcome women into our home. We anticipate spending $400K during this phase.
Phase IV - Operation
After the first year, we forecast our annual operating costs to be about $500K, between necessary staff to run the facility, supply and programming costs, and facility operations costs.