Founded in 1976 in Santa Ana, Casa Teresa was envisioned as a home for pregnant women, over the age of 18, who were alone and had no support. At the time, there were very few resources or shelters specifically for single, pregnant women, and founders Neill and Sally Sullivan launched Casa Teresa as a four-unit building and cottage to meet the need. After nearly a decade in Santa Ana, Casa Teresa moved to its current site in Orange in 1985, where its Old Towne location ensured access to nearby stores, public transportation, and healthcare for residents.
Besides accessibility, Casa Teresa has ensured that the needs of pregnant women are met by adding new programs and services. In 1995 they established Hannah’s House to address the needs of women interested in placing their baby with an adoptive family. In 2001, they opened the communal-style Transformation I (T1) Program to serve residents who would benefit from a longer stay with Casa Teresa, and the independent apartment building housing the Transformation II (T2) Program soon followed in 2006.
In 2013, they launched the Emergency Maternity Shelter (EMS), catering specifically to women struggling with chronic homelessness, substance abuse, and other intensive issues. Also located on the main campus, is the Alumni Resource Center, which provides educational classes, case management, and other supportive services for graduates from their programs.
Mission: To provide pregnant women in crisis a loving home to begin their healing journey.
Vision: To break cycles, transform women and help families thrive through effective, caring residential programs.
Values: Love, Hope, Compassion, Empowerment
Casa Teresa Programs
Casa Teresa’s vision is to break dysfunctional cycles, transform women and help families thrive through effective, caring residential programs. To meet that vision, they provide mothers: five residential programs, a giving shelter and other basic needs, case management, classes, and supportive services for pregnant women. The goal is to provide the necessary resources for their personal transformation, so that when a woman leaves, she is prepared to re-enter society as a self-reliant member, having broken life-long cycles of homelessness and/or addiction and can maintain a safe, loving life for herself and her child(ren).
The programs include:
Emergency Maternity Shelter:
-Goal: to stabilize the women so they can begin to heal and prepare for motherhood
-Requirements: Pregnant and at least 18 years old
-Home for the most vulnerable women in the community — often chronically homeless, struggling with addiction, and/or having mental health challenges
-Addresses safety, health, and basic needs first
-Also has 2 apartments for two pregnant women with up to three children each
-Foundational program where every mother enters the program, unless she comes from EMS
-Goal: stabilize the woman, help them heal, and prepare for motherhood