In less than two months, five pregnant women being sheltered in Arbor House will have to find a new place to live.
Arbor House will close March 8. Until then, it will continue to support the five women currently living there and all other women in the community in need of its services.
The Gainesville Catholic Charities will not renew its agreement to manage Arbor House, a shelter for homeless pregnant women and single mother families. It supplies long-term housing and programs for them, and it’s also provided pregnancy tests and counseling services free of charge.
It was originally going to close in 2011 due to a lack of funding. Arbor House then approached Catholic Charities, and the two made an agreement in March of 2011 to find additional funding through donations and grants. By doing so, they could ensure that Arbor House would continue to run.
Catholic Charities is an organization that receives money from donations and grants, and then redistributes the money among their different programs. Arbor House has its own separate financing, so rather than giving money to Catholic Charities where they decide where the money goes, it goes directly to Arbor House.
John Barli, regional director of Catholic Charities, said it takes $250,000 a year to run Arbor House, and his organization had to make drastic cuts in staffing to give more toward these costs. Those cuts still wouldn’t be enough to break even.
“At that point, it became obvious that we were not going to be able to sustain Arbor House as an ongoing thing,” Barli said. “So the decision was made that we would not be renewing our agreement with them.”
Of the five women currently living in Arbor House, three of them have already had their children. The other two women will have had their children by the time the house closes. All of the women have had backup plans.
Even though Catholic Charities is not currently looking to start a new program, they do provide pregnancy counseling programs.
“With every door that closes, another one opens,” Barli said. “There’s always a possibility that something may come up in the future, but we will continue with our pregnancy counseling programs, and do everything we can to make sure these ladies are taken care of.”