Providence House is a not-for-profit organization founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph that helps transform the lives of homeless, abused, and formerly incarcerated women and their children – one family at a time. Our services and programs provide shelter and support through our network of transitional residences, individual apartments and permanent supportive housing located in Brooklyn, Queens and New Rochelle, New York. We strive to break the cycle of homelessness and return to incarceration by assisting our residents to obtain education and training, learn job skills, gain employment, and, ultimately, find a permanent home for their families. In 2009, Providence House celebrated a milestone birthday – thirty years of excellence serving women and children who are homeless. Over the past three decades, more than 12,000 women and children have benefited from our various programs. We hope your support will enable us to continue our mission for as long as there are women in need. Thank you for visiting Providence House!
Who We Are
Providence House is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to transition women who are homeless and recently released from prison back into society. We provide case management and an array of programs throughout our network of transitional residences, individual apartments, and permanent supportive housing.
Our goal is to help our residents obtain permanent housing, get an education, learn job skills and find employment. This four-tier approach enables women and children to become strong families. We provide daycare for our infants and toddlers, and we assure that our older children are enrolled in school. In addition, all residents have access to a Registered Nurse through our Family Health Services Program.
Our unique structure provides a home away from home. Core community members, volunteers and staff share in the day-to-day life of our residents, teaching by example the life skills that will help them successfully reintegrate into the community. Providence House ultimately strives to break the cycle of homelessness and return to incarceration for these families. To date, over 8,500 women and 4,500 children have lived at Providence House.
Mission & Values
Emphasizing the dignity of every human person, Providence House affirms its commitment to provide shelter and support to homeless, abused and formerly incarcerated women and their children in a hospitable, non-violent, compassionate atmosphere. We also strive to address the causes of injustice and work towards the full and fruitful participation in the community of those with whom we share life.
To end the cycle of homelessness, abuse and return to incarceration through creating long-lasting change in the lives of women and families we serve. By continuing to maintain the high standards of Providence House's diverse programs and services while simultaneously providing a nurturing community and caring home for each and every woman and family we take in, we believe we can make a significant impact.
Whether in conversation over dinner or in helping with a job search, Providence House's values are behind everything we do. Our key values are:
- Community: We believe the health of the community rests squarely on the shoulders of every member of that community. It is through the relationships established by our programs that true change can be effected in the lives of the women and children we serve.
- Non-Violence: We emphasize non-violence as a necessary component of mental health and successful rehabilitation. It is through communication — not violence — that we come to terms with our differences.
- Compassion: We have a deep sensitivity to the hardships that many of the women and children in our community have experienced. We teach them the skills that help them deal with life's complexities and provide them with tools to make their lives better.
- Hospitality: We are a welcoming community, open to change and new ideas. Through hospitality, we better ourselves, and the work we do.
Providence House began in 1979 when four Sisters of St. Joseph offered a place to stay to a mother who was coming out of prison and reuniting with her young child. This grew out of a response to a need that Sister Elaine Roulet saw firsthand while ministering to ex-offenders at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility as Director of the Children's Center. Shortly prior to their release, women were approved for weekend furloughs so they could begin the reunification process with their families. The problem was that there was no place for them to stay on these weekend visits, since many times their children had been split up among relatives or were living in foster care.
Sister Elaine asked the Sisters at St. James Convent in Brooklyn if they would provide hospitality for these women, and the Sisters readily agreed. Within a short time, the number of women who needed shelter outgrew the space available at the convent. A group of three Sisters, along with Sister Elaine, began to look for a house where they could accommodate more women. After much searching they settled on the former Xaverian Brothers house at Holy Cross Parish in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. In August 1979, the vision for Providence House was realized when the four Sisters moved in to prepare for families who needed a temporary place to stay.
Providence House has since grown from the house on Church Avenue to include five transitional residences located in Brooklyn and Queens; a transitional residence and permanent housing program in Westchester; and an apartment program and two permanent housing facilities in Brooklyn. Much more than temporary housing, Providence House is a community where women receive support from each other and from the dedicated Sisters and staff who employ a holistic approach to guiding the women towards creating safe, stable homes of their own.
Many more mothers and children have followed over the past 30 years. To date, over 8,500 women and 4,500 children have lived at Providence House.