Holy Ground… it all started in 2008 when the former pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Fr. Seamus Murtagh, was moved to act again on behalf of the ever-growing number of homeless persons he met while on his morning walks.
St. Ann, located in the heart of West Palm Beach, was already serving the homeless community in many ways – providing food, clothing, a facility for showers and doing laundry, as well as assisting with transportation and attending to medical needs.
And yet, Fr. Murtagh could see that much more was needed… that people were falling through the cracks… people were still suffering… and so he reached out to the community and organized a gathering to take a deeper look at the issue of homelessness, especially the need for shelter, and what else could be done.
From this gathering, a small group of volunteers formed and started meeting on a regular basis to consider how they, personally, could help. After obtaining 501 (c)(3) status, Holy Ground Shelter for Homeless, Inc. (now Holy Ground PBC) started the real work … focusing on how to make a lasting difference.
To view statistics related to teen pregnancy, click here.
After much discernment, Holy Ground chose to focus its efforts on young pregnant and parenting women and their babies, as they were among the most under-served homeless population in our area. The limited beds available in Palm Beach County that serve young, homeless moms consistently have long waiting lists, resulting in many of these young women having to be placed in other parts of the state or even out of state… and in some cases, sadly, no shelter or services at all.
Holy Ground’s Program
Holy Ground Shelter for Homeless, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit established in 2009. Our mission is to shelter and mentor homeless, pregnant and/or parenting teen and young adult women and their children living in Palm Beach County. In addition to providing rental assistance, Holy Ground is committed to assisting clients in accessing prenatal and postnatal healthcare services, food, clothing, baby equipment, education/job training, and parenting and independent living skills. A pregnant teen/young woman may be admitted to our program at any time during her pregnancy. Upon admission, each client will be matched with one or more adult female mentors to accompany and guide her on their journey from adolescence to adulthood and motherhood. Holy Ground is an independent faith-based, non-profit organization that adheres to Judeo-Christian values. Created out of a profound respect for the God-given gift of life, Holy Ground is committed to protecting, nurturing, and improving the lives of both mother and child. To learn more about our program, click here for our brochure.
Note: Unfortunately, Holy Ground Shelter cannot provide services to anyone with substance abuse or mental health issues.
Holy Ground commits to making a long-term individual investment in each client so that she may move towards independent living, economic sustainability, a stable family situation and lasting generational change. Our goal is to assist our Palm Beach County clients and their families in breaking the cycle of poverty and teen pregnancy.
Shelter – Utilizing an independent living model, rather than institutionalization, we provide clients with rental assistance for safe, private, fully furnished, modest apartments that allow convenient travel to school, daycare center, and/or place of work.
Mentoring – Every client is matched with a trained adult female mentor to accompany, love and guide her on their journey. Holy Ground mentors are also vital in monitoring the progress and needs of both mother and child.
Capacity-Building – Holy Ground’s Life Skills Series provides clients with the opportunity to learn from professionals regarding such topics as positive parenting, proper nutrition, healthy relationships, finances/budgeting, self-esteem, spirituality, employability skills, etc. Building the capabilities of our young mothers translates to a more positive outcome for themselves and their children.
Essential Resources – Clients are assisted in accessing health insurance and healthcare services, food, childcare, education, job training, as well as baby supplies, etc.
In return, while in our program, clients must adhere to a signed contract, which covers a wide range of expectations and goals; continue their education; seek part-time employment; and provide a portion of their total income toward payment of their rent and utilities.
Holy Ground is a member of the Homeless and Housing Alliance of Palm Beach County.
We are proud to work with the following agencies to provide the best possible services to our clients:
- DePorres P.L.A.C.E., Inc.
- Club 100 Charities Community Clothing and Food Bank
- St. Vincent de Paul – St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church
- CareerSource Palm Beach County
- St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
- Community Partners