Elizabeth House is a residential transitional program for women with children who have experienced homelessness, violence addiction, or poverty.
Elizabeth House opened in 1991 as one woman’s response to the needs of homeless women and children she met on the streets of Berkeley and Oakland. Pat Lindstadt sought to offer support that would enable residents to regain a sense of control over their lives, and ultimately, become self-sufficient.
Since 1991, Oakland Elizabeth House has grown steadily. We currently make our home in the former convent at St. Augustine Church in North Oakland. Our size and the number of services we offer have grown in response to the increasing needs of the poor and oppressed in our community.
The founding values of hospitality, hope, empowerment, personalism, community, compassion and nonviolence all remain integral components of Elizabeth House more than 21 years later.
Elizabeth House is rooted in the Catholic Worker tradition, however we do not mandate that any paid staff, volunteer staff, residents or donors be Catholic, Christian or any other faith denomination. We are a non-denominational organization.
The Catholic Worker was originally founded in 1933, in depression-era New York City. Since then, a number of individuals, families, churches and other groups of people have gotten together in all different forms and called themselves, “Catholic Workers.” These organizations include soup kitchens, houses of hospitality (like Elizabeth House), and other collectives of individuals hoping to affect positive change.
Who Qualifies for Elizabeth House?
- Women, age 18 or over
- Women with children ages 2 months to 12 years old – maximum 3 children – Family size accepted varies according to available space
- Source of Verifiable Income
- Priority to Alameda County resident
- Domestic Violence Victim: DV Support and counseling in place for family, 6 – 12 months since last contact with abuser
- Substance Abuse: 6 months minimum clean and sober, participation in a residential treatment program, actively maintaining sobriety attending outside meetings and counseling
How Do Women Come to Elizabeth House?
Women can be referred to us by other agencies, and many self-refer to Elizabeth House. The initial point of contact includes a phone interview to determine eligibility for our tracking list. A family will remain on the tracking list as long as the mother calls in monthly and indicates she is still interested in our program. Length of time on the tracking list is fluid and is not time limited.
Criteria to move into Elizabeth House includes: the mother and family situation, family size, ages/gender of children, outside support services, and ability to meet the expected benchmarks. An interview is conducted with all Elizabeth House staff and then after review, we will invite a potential family to join us for a House dinner where the woman is interviewed by Elizabeth House residents. After references are checked, a family is then invited to live at Elizabeth House.
How Long Can Women Stay at Elizabeth House?
A family participates and lives at Elizabeth House from 12 to 18 months, provided the woman is actively working to meet the program benchmarks and the family is participating in Elizabeth House activities and programs.
How Many People Live at Elizabeth House?
We can accommodate up to 10 families any one time, (a mother with 1-3 children share a bedroom). We do have some families where the mother and children are reunifying. Typically, we house from 12-16 children at any one time. In addition to the families at Elizabeth House, one or two volunteer staff members live-in to participate in the cooperative model that is central to our mission.