Strange but true: there are still organizations in the Kansas City area that work to assist people in need and prefer to do so without government assistance, one of which is Nativity House KC.
Nativity House KC, Inc., was granted 501c3 status in 2013 and has a mission to serve homeless adult women and children, especially those in a crisis pregnancy. While there is an active community working to eradicate homelessness, Nativity House is the only organization in the metro that specifically addresses the needs of homeless and pregnant women.
According to Nativity House founder Barbara Belcher, homeless women in the metro have a challenge in finding shelter. There are far too few beds to meet the need. The metro has domestic violence shelters and some family shelters. Transitional housing is available as well, but the pregnant homeless woman is especially vulnerable.
Some shelters don’t want the risk of caring for a pregnant mother. Some shelters are hard pressed to provide a place for the mother and her children because of space limitations. Some mothers have dual diagnosis mental health and substance abuse needs that make them hard to place.
“Our mothers come to us from lives of abuse,” says Belcher. “We are with them in the exam room of a hospital ER when a rape kit is performed. We are with them in obstetrical emergencies, at court, and with social services. We are with them at times of joy when learning from our programs, taking a quilting or a cooking class, or just have a sweet time when they drop in to our office.”
A veteran lobbyist for the pharmaceutical giant Merck, Belcher was driving south on Interstate 29 after a successful go-round with the Nebraska legislature a few years back when she had a genuine road-to-Damascus moment, albeit on the road to Kansas City. She felt the call to do something different.
After some serious soul-searching and a fair share of strategic planning, Belcher chose as a mission the provision of “a soft place to land” for those young women who rejected abortion but who found themselves homeless as the birth approached.
In 2016 Nativity House provided 1000 nights of safe sleep and over 3000 meals, numerous rides to appointments, and hundreds of programs. Since opening the doors to receive women in 2014 Nativity House has had contact with over 125 women seeking help.
“We do all of this without any government assistance,” said Belcher. “Nativity House has been blessed with volunteers that help us in many ways. We have volunteers that provide child care, life coaching, photography, computer assistance, social media assistance, transportation, maintenance of the house, counseling, mailing assistance and fundraising.”
Those who would like to volunteer their time or their money are invited to do so here.