Syracuse group opens home to take in pregnant women

Mar 19, 2014

A house that opens its doors to pregnant women who don’t have anywhere to live will soon open on Syracuse's Northside.

The living room of Joseph's House
The living room of Joseph's House
Credit Ellen Abbott

Joseph’s House, a project conceived by two women who are anti-abortion, seeks to offer pregnant women in crisis another option besides abortion.

Kitty Spinelli of Skaneatelas and Maria Miller of Fairmount are the founders of Joseph’s House, which is housed in a home more than 100-years-old in an undisclosed location on the city’s Northside.  

They said they are already getting calls about pregnant women who have nowhere to go.

“One women found us on the Internet," said Miller.

"She Googled looking for homes for pregnant moms and we came up," chimed in Spilnelli. "The 40 Days for Life people. Churches in the area. Social Services have already called us. Doctors have called us.”

Spinelli said the calls they have received show this type of program can be helpful.

"We know the need is there," Spinelli said. "To have 17 calls in five to six months. There’s a great need. And how many are we not getting?”

Spinelli and Miller used a fundraising campaign to purchase the home, which can house up to 16 pregnant women.

They say two women, with babies due this spring, will move into the house in April. This will begin what they hope is a place where women can have their babies, get jobs and learn life skills all in a supervised household. The home will include a day care to allow the mothers to go to work or school.

The women can stay for up to two years in a situation the founders admit is very structured, with no dating or alcohol and limited visitors.    

Miller said the home can help women whose pregnancy could lead to hardship.

A room in Joseph's House, which can house up to 16 pregnant women.
A room in Joseph's House, which can house up to 16 pregnant women.
Credit Ellen Abbott

"So now your option is either you have an abortion or you're homeless, so it makes sense that many people, in order to keep a roof over their head, have an abortion," Miller said. "Joseph’s House is yet another way.”

Joseph’s House is based on a national model called Good Counsel, which has operated homes in the metropolitan New York area for 30 years.

Spinelli, who found inspiration for Joseph’s House while praying in front of a Planned Parenthood in Syracuse, doesn’t believe this is a project only for those opposed to abortion.

"It bridges that gap between pro-life and pro-choice," Spinelli said. "Because it’s another choice. And no matter what your views are, this is something you can embrace.”