A network of homes for vulnerable pregnant women in Arizona has assisted over 1,000 women since its first home opened in May 2000 — and it’s looking to expand even more in the New Year of 2024.

Back in the late ’90s, “Five young women made a commitment to live together in community and create a home that could welcome others,” Laura Magruder, chief executive officer of Maggie’s Place, told Fox News Digital. 

Inspired by their Catholic faith and the Catholic Worker tradition, the five co-founders “shared a common interest in social justice and establishing a ‘house of hospitality,’” said Magruder, who joined the organization in 2013.

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“The women spent months discussing, researching and laying the groundwork,” she said. 

Along with the help of friends and volunteers, the five turned a vacant bungalow in downtown Phoenix that was built in 1926 into “The Magdalene House,” said Magruder. 

“Maggie’s Place was born nine months after construction began when the house welcomed its first mothers and opened its doors on May 13, 2000,” she said. 

“The celebration, taking place on Mother’s Day,” she said, “marked the transition from a good idea to an active, dynamic home and community life.” 

While the organization was inspired by Catholic teaching, it is not affiliated with the Church. People of any faith or no faith background at all are welcomed at its homes. 

That first year, five women called Maggie’s Place their home, she said. 

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The mission of the organization is to “provide safe housing and a nurturing community for homeless pregnant women, empowering them to thrive throughout their lifetime.”

Since its opening in 2000, Maggie’s Place has expanded to five maternity homes — and “Maggie’s Place” as a nonprofit organization has grown in scope as well. 

“Over the years, we have added layers to the support we provide, including case management, workforce development and therapeutic partnerships,” she told Fox News Digital. 

Today, a total of 30 women and their newborn children can be housed each night. 

In 2024, an additional four beds are set to open. The homes are all located in Maricopa County, Arizona. 

Each house, said Magruder, provides shelter for four to seven women at a time. 

“Over 1,100 women have resided in a Maggie’s Place home, and over 600 babies have called Maggie’s Place their first home,” said Magruder. 

To live at Maggie’s Place, a woman must be over age 18, pregnant, homeless and willing to live in the community, says its website. 

Residents of Maggie’s Place are free to stay until their child’s first birthday.

The support offered by Maggie’s Place does not end, however, when the mother and child move out. 

“We have workforce development programs onsite and a housing specialist to assist [the] mom[s] in moving out into a safe and secure place,” said Magruder. 

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Additionally, Maggie’s Place operates the “Maggie’s Place Family Success Center,” which “provides long-term programming for moms and their children,” regardless of whether their children were born at a Maggie’s Place home or not, said Magruber. 

“We also have a small apartment complex focused on family reunification,” she explained. “This property has a nightly capacity to serve four to eight families.” 

Guided by its core values of love, hospitality, community and excellence, Maggie’s Place has a goal of being “the premier service provider in Maricopa County to our moms, babies and families, breaking the cycle of generational trauma to transform our community.”

The group’s work, however, is far from complete, it says. 

“In Arizona, the need outweighs the demand,” said Magruder. “So we will continue to strengthen the program offerings at our Family Success Center and open/build new homes as opportunities arise.” 

“AB,” a former Maggie’s Place resident, found herself homeless at 28 weeks pregnant. 

“I had two bags packed and $20 to my name,” she said in a narrative shared with Fox News Digital. 

In desperation, she called Maggie’s Place, and was placed in the organization’s “Elizabeth House” in Tempe. 

She safely delivered her son — and was able to take him home from the hospital a day later. 

“Maggie’s Place provided me with housing while I worked on resources to provide for my son,” she said. 

Prior to her pregnancy, AB had struggled with alcohol and drug use, as well as a gambling addiction. 

“I went to support groups and therapy while living” at Maggie’s Place, she said. 

When her son was four months old, she moved into an apartment. Now an alumna of Maggie’s Place, she still attends its programming through the Family Success Center. 

She said Maggie’s Place saved her from homelessness.

She is currently in counseling, is working a job and has been sober for three years, she said. 

AB also credits Maggie’s Place with saving her life. 

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“Maggie’s Place gave me the tools I needed to be a good provider for my son,” she said. “I owe all my blessings to them.” 

Maggie’s place is a 501(c)3 organization. “We provide a nurturing and stable home, nutritious food, infant supplies, access to medical care, and programs that are trauma informed, focused on building resiliency and strengthening families,” the group says on its website (maggiesplace.org).

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