In 1979, Texas Baptist Children’s Home introduced a Family Care program on its Round Rock campus to help single-parent mothers and their children in resolving temporary family instability through residential care and other types of assistance. By 1999, single mothers raising children was the fastest growing family type in Texas. By that time, the Round Rock campus was stretched to its limits just meeting local demand for the Family Care program and had no means to meet demands in other large Texas cities.
Because of the growing demand in the Houston area, the TBCH Board of Trustees, in partnership with Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, conducted a feasibility study to determine whether the program could be expanded. With board approval, TBCH purchased three acres including an existing 5000 square foot residence and an additional 3000 square foot residence in Southwest Houston in June 2000. The two residences were remodeled and opened in March 2001 to client families. In 2009, through a partnership with HomeAid Houston, the charitable arm of the Greater Houston Builders Assocition, the first of two homes were opened in Spring Branch in Northwest Houston. A second home followed in the Spring of 2010. In 2011, the original office building on the Southwest location was converted into a living unit for four additional families and the original cottage underwent a complete remodel.
Though now separately incorporated as an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit agency, Gracewood still follows the Family Care model perfected in Round Rock. Single mothers can live on a short-term basis with their children in a group residence where residential case managers and other staff support a plan of service tailored to fit their individual needs. The program also provides nonresidential services by connecting families with beneficial community resources. Program benefits include: a safe haven in a time of crisis; the family can remain intact during crisis resolution; basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing; personalized case management; life skills modeled by staff in residence; individual, group, and family counseling; connection with community resources; education and training assistance; referral to employment resources; housing assistance; money management program; transportation assistance; recreational opportunities; an aftercare program.
The Seed That Grew Into Gracewood
To strengthen single-parent families at risk for homelessness by promoting their spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.
Empowering families through Christian ministry designed to provide housing, mentoring, teaching, financial planning, counseling and access to community resources.
Faith — Responding to God’s love offers eternal life and hope that transcends circumstances
Accountability — Stewardship of resources
Mercy — Empathizing and meeting the needs of those in distress
Integrity — Integration of faith and practice
Leadership — Christian mentoring to families
Involvement — Community collaboration to respond to client needs
Encouragement — Assisting families in identifying and meeting their individual goals
Support — Building on existing family strengths