Joshua’s House to open in Clare
July 13, 2009


By Pat Maurer
Review Correspondent

The culmination of six years of planning and development, Joshua’s House, a new home for expectant mothers, may be open as soon as Thanksgiving, said founder Reneé Jeffords of Farwell.

Supported by State and local Right to Life organizations, service organizations, area doctors, churches and pastoral associations in Clare, Harrison, Farwell, Roscommon, Houghton Lake, Gladwin, Mt. Pleasant and Midland, Clare’s new Joshua’s House is becoming a reality.

Joshua’s House was named for the Bible verse, Joshua 24:15: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The new brochure says, “Our maternity home is a safe family environment that has a full-time caring staff to support a woman’s choice to carry her baby to full term.”

A tentative location near downtown Clare has been found, with a property purchase offer made on the former Doherty home, although the purchase is not yet final. Clare was selected “for the first of its kind in the center of Michigan, serving all women equally,” Jeffords said.

It is ready, Jeffords continued. Joshua’s House now has its 501-30 non-profit status and is governed by a three-member board.

Funding will come from donations, funds pledged by private citizens, churches and organizations, and from fundraisers, speaking engagements to raise funds and grants.

Jeffords called the home an alternative for abortion, providing a “loving home … in a Christ-like atmosphere.”

Mothers-to-be who have few other options will be able come to the non-denominational home and stay free, with only a charge for some groceries, in the facility throughout their pregnancy and for up to 12 weeks after the delivery of a baby. Residents will be assisted in planning for a place to live after their stay. “Some will come to deliver and raise their child and some will deliver and allow the baby to be adopted,” Jeffords said. “We won’t make that decision, but we will support the mother’s decision.

“Ideally we would like to have expectant mothers come to the home by their fifth month of pregnancy,” Jeffords said.

A stay at Joshua’s House will include ongoing weekly Bible study, financial classes by H & R Block on budgeting, child parenting classes, relationship restoration classes that teach forgiveness and accepting responsibility for a relationship gone bad, and business, resume and interview skills to help prepare for the workplace.

A full-time House Mother and House Father will be part of the staff. Jeffords, an licensed minister, will conduct the Bible Study. Lisa Card and staff from H&R Block will handle financial classes and Onita Oles, a professor from Central Michigan University, will teach the business skills classes. A full-time secretary, respite workers and volunteers, including nurses, will also be available, Jeffords said. “Someone will always be there.”

Residents at the home must be 18 years or older, Jeffords said, unless they have written parental consent or the residence is given court-ordered temporary custody. She said it is a misconception that most unwed mothers are under 18. Jeffords said, in 2007, there were 24,683 births by single mothers in Michigan. Of those only 1,681 were under 18 years old.

Joshua’s House will be able to house from eight to ten residents at a time. After applying, placement will be based on availability of space in the maternity home.

Each resident, working together as a family, will take part in the household and share in training classes, activities and response-abilities within the home. “Joshua’s House is a place of refuge for young women at a defining moment in their life,” wrote Jeffords.

“It is so needed,” she said.

Anyone interested in becoming a part of Joshua’s House, in donating to the facility or in having Jeffords speak, can call Reneé at 989-424-5434, write to P.O. Box 405, Clare, MI 48617, or visit the web site at joshuashouseint.org.