St. Mary’s Home / Center for Women and Children
Adult Family Shelter Programs:
St. Mary's Center manages two Adult Family Shelter programs in Dorchester and East Boston, supporting 150 families annually, providing congregate shelter and scatter site apartments allowing for flexibility based on family need. Working in partnership with the city and state, families experiencing homelessness are placed within 24 hours and immediately provided an individualized and integrated model of care.
A wide range of personal, social, and economic factors serve as obstacles for families in their struggle to overcome homelessness and poverty. 100% of St. Marys Center families have experienced trauma throughout their lives, leading to complex health and/or mental health issues.
Consistent with our mission, St. Mary's Center provides family-centered, wrap-around services across Adult Family Shelter programs focused on breaking down barriers to achieve rapid rehousing. With the goal of decreasing families length of stay, SMC has an average placement rate of 89% to permanent housing within 12 months.
St. Mary's Center's Transitional Housing Program First Home, is housed on our Dorchester campus. With the intentional focus of working with young families on positive transitions, First Home provides access to one-and two-bedroom apartments paired with continued wrap-around support services for 12 young mothers and their child(ren) transitioning from the Young Parenting Living Program.
First Home supports young families in their independent living on-site for an additional two years. This step-down model, offering a comprehensive, wrap-around model of support for up to two years ensures success in transition for the most vulnerable families, being young families of color, on their route to permanent, multi-generation stability and drastically lowers, if not eliminates, return to homelessness. Young mothers navigate increased independence while caring for their child, establishing two generations of stable futures.
100% of young moms who live in St. Marys Centers Transitional Housing program are 100% stabilized after moving into permanent housing with no return to homelessness.
Behavioral Health & Family Medicine:
St. Mary's Center recognizes that holistic behavioral and physical health services are catalysts to self-sufficiency and economic stability for women and families experiencing homelessness, severe poverty, and trauma. The correlation between mental health and homelessness has been well documented and at St. Mary's Center, 100% of the women, children and families served have a history of trauma, including mental health challenges, domestic violence, and substance use disorder.
At St. Mary's Center, we prioritize the whole health of the family, including their mental, emotional and physical health in every residential program.
To support families' mental and emotional well-being, St. Mary's Center's full-time Clinical Department provides high-quality, evidence-based best practice treatments to support the individuals and families in our care who are struggling with varied mental, emotional, physical, social, family, legal, housing, and financial challenges. These services fill a critical need, combatting the typical 69-month waitlist in Boston to receive behavioral health services.
Clinically, all mothers on campus can access individual and group therapy with an in-house clinician or through our collaborative partners. On average, St. Marys Center residents engage with our on-site clinicians in over 150 individual therapy sessions per month.
Through an interdisciplinary, resiliency-based, trauma-informed approach, case managers, clinical team members, and healthcare partners work collaboratively to improve outcomes and provide services to meet the individual needs of each resident and family on their path to long-term stability.
To support families' physical well-being, on-site partner Boston Healthcare for the Homeless offers unprecedented access to primary care and medical services. Additional partners include the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative and UMASS Boston College of Nursing and Health Sciences, providing the evidence-based Nurse-Family Partnership program to St. Mary's Center residents from pregnancy through the first two years of their childs life.