Heather’s House in Vancouver Provides Single Mothers with Housing, Hope

This digital rendering shows what Heather's House will look like when completed. Photo courtesy: Heather's House

Being a single mother is one of the scariest and toughest jobs a person can face. Heather Richardson knows that first hand: she was one at 18. Taking her own experiences, a heart for service, and a plan from God, Heather is working hard on opening Heather’s House, low-rent housing in Vancouver, Washington for single mothers. Faith-based, the home will do just more than put that all-important roof over their heads, but will provide Christ-based programs and support to give single mothers a path to a new tomorrow.

Heather Richardson (center) with two board members on stage during their Mother’s Day Tea fundraiser. Photo courtesy: Heather’s House

New Beginnings Maternity Homes

In 2006, Roda and Brian Gistad formed New Beginnings Maternity Homes. The nonprofit served over 100 women in need in their own home during the next decade, before they felt led into another ministry and passed the torch on to Mike Miller.

Mike Miller, a pastor, took the nonprofit and grew the idea, wanting to building a house with multiple rooms to offer at low rent to single mothers. He purchased land in Vancouver out of his own pocket and began to develop the property – which included removing a vacant house – into his dream: a brand-new facility for single mothers. “Then COVID hit,” shares Heather. “After two years of trying to communicate with the county he felt like the Lord was telling him you aren’t going to be the one to finish this thing.”

Meanwhile, Heather and her husband, Greg were at their own crosswords. They owned a tree service but Greg was feeling moved to sell the business to minister as a counselor. Greg asked Heather what she was planning on doing after the business sold. “I said, ‘I don’t know I was thinking about the gifts that the Lord has given me along with what I love and enjoy doing. I love animals, I have a heart for serving the homeless, and single moms because I was a single mom and I know firsthand how hard it is,” she explains.

It was at a youth conference with one of her children that Heather got the message loud and clear: God wanted her to build a place for hope, recovery and redemption. A place for women. “Greg and I tried in our own strength for about a year, trying to buy houses that would accommodate a group of women,” she shares. “We hit roadblock after roadblock.”

And then it happened. A friend of Greg and Heather, Jennifer, met Ray, a guy who knew Mike and New Beginnings Maternity Homes. He mentioned that Mike was looking for a couple to aid him in his effort. Jennifer told Heather and they agree to meet with Ray, who brought along Mike. “Greg and I went to meet him at a coffee shop and lo and behold Mike Miller was there,” Heather remembers. “We have known Mike for years he has counseled my daughter, he officiated my little brother’s wedding, and he was our pastor for a time as well. God went before us to set all of this up. His timing is perfect.”

Low Rent Housing in Vancouver

It was a natural place for Heather. “I was raised by a single mom and then became a single mother myself at 18 years old,” shares Heather. “This ministry holds a special place in my heart. I know and understand how hard and lonely single motherhood is and can be. I lost all of my friends, they were off being young and free while I was at home caring for an infant. This lead or forced me into isolation. I had no community and was depressed. The enemy can do quite the number on you when you’re in the state of mind. You are depressed, you lack self-esteem and self-worth. You have no hope which can lead to suicidal thoughts the list goes on and on.”

This is the floor plan for Heather’s House, a low rent house in Vancouver for single women. Photo courtesy: Heather’s House

Heather’s House in Vancouver will not just be another rental complex. The goal is low-rent housing where single mothers can have enough left over to save for a down payment on their own home. Having this stable home environment is key for parent and child. They will also provide faith-based support and community, including counseling for emotional health and classes that teach finances, credit building/recovery, cooking, vocation, health, etc. They will also help teach women about what a biblical man looks like. “What does a man of God look like, act like?” Heather shares. “This was never modeled in the house I grew up in and most likely our women have never seen what servant leadership looks like either. No wonder we were looking for love in all the wrong places.”

Heather mentions a study done by Fix Family Courts, with statistics that may shock you:

  • 70% of all teen pregnancies come from single mother homes
  • 71% of youth using drugs come from single mother homes
  • 80% of all prison inmates come from single mother homes and
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from single mother homes

A big point is that Heather’s House is not only for women with addiction. It’s for any single mother, at any age. Heather says there are other homes like this, but they are only for women battling addiction. Heather’s House is for all single-mothers.

They are currently working on getting their home finished. “I have been waiting 11 months for my building permit to get processed,” shares Heather, “which is incredibly frustrating! I believe we are getting close though. As soon as the permit gets approved, we will need contractors and a ton of donors.”

They need $750,000 to build the home, so monetary donations are gratefully accepted. They are completely volunteer run, so 100% of donations goes to their program. To find out more, visit the Heather’s House website or call 360.320.6382. Also, mark your calendar for their Fundraising Rummage and Summer Market Sale August 25-26 at Church on the Rock in Battle Ground. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. When a woman has no village, we need to step up and find her one.

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