(Photos: Founding members, first Maggie’s Place home, construction, first moms at Christmas)
In early 1999, five young women made a commitment to one another to live together in community and to create a home that could welcome women in need in their community. Eventually, this spark of an idea grew into the vision of Maggie’s Place. As recent college graduates, these young women placed their “plans” as they had known them on hold in order to create a place that could help other women through a difficult and vulnerable period in their lives. The co-founders knew each other through a web of friendships and work relationships, and shared a common interest in social justice and establishing a “house of hospitality’ in the Catholic Worker tradition of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin as an expression of their faith.
The women spent months discussing, researching, planning, networking, and laying the groundwork. At an Easter potluck, they were put in touch with a local advocate for affordable housing. She offered to work with Maggie’s Place by giving the budding organization access to a property and delayed rent payments until the property was livable. The 1926 bungalow house in downtown Phoenix was in tremendous disrepair, having sat vacant for many years. The group persisted, and with the assistance of a wide array of volunteers, they gutted the structure and completely rebuilt the interior. Maggie’s Place was born nine months after construction began when the house welcomed its first mothers and opened its doors on May 13th, 2000 with an outdoor Mass and block party. The celebration, taking place on Mother’s Day, marked the transition from the inception of an idea to a dynamic and vibrant community home. This home, later called The Magdalene House, is still operational and welcomes up to eight pregnant and parenting women.
Through the generosity of many, Maggie’s Place continued to expand. In June 2001, Maggie’s Place purchased the apartment complex next to The Magdalene House, and opened the La Casa de la Madre, to be used as “step two” housing. The apartments allow Maggie’s Place moms that have given birth and are employed a gradual transition to life away from the community. The apartment complex expanded the capacity of Maggie’s Place twofold. In January 2005, Maggie’s Place opened a home in Tempe, Arizona, The Elizabeth House, which serves 6 women. In March 2007, Maggie’s Place opened a home in Glendale, Arizona, The Michael House, which is able to serve 7 women. In October 2008, The Mary House opened in order to serve women of the Spokane and northern Idaho region, our first out-of-state expansion, however it has subsequently been closed due to financial and other reasons. In June 2009, Maggie’s Place expanded again outside of Arizona and opened The Zechariah House, in Parma, Ohio with the capacity to serve 9 women. In October 2015, The Hannah House officially opened its doors in Mesa, Arizona. You can read more about these homes here.
In addition to the expansion of our homes, Maggie’s Place acquired the The Fiat House in January 2011 to accommodate our administrative growth. This campus serves as the administrative office and home of our Moms’ Outreach Center. Moms that are currently living in a Maggie’s Place home or moms who have transitioned out of a home (alumnae moms) are able to utilize a variety of resources: computers, parenting classes, legal clinics, financial workshops, and more.
Maggie’s Place has grown to become “one community…many homes!”