By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
‘We are here:’ Whispering Hope celebrates opening of maternity home in Forsyth County
Living Hope
From the left, Elizabeth Reed, Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, Elaine Culpepper, Beth Hathorn, Lisa Cornelison, Rep. Sheri Gilligan and Rep. Sharon Cooper all celebrate the opening of Georgia's first Christian maternity supportive housing residence, Living Hope. Photo courtesy of Hathorn.

Forsyth County leaders and community members recently gathered to celebrate the opening of Living Hope, the first Christian maternity supportive housing residence in Georgia meant to provide a safe space for single mothers “to prepare for birth, recover from pregnancy, and get on their feet.”

The home is owned and operated by Whispering Hope Women’s Resource & Pregnancy Center, a nonprofit organization that has provided pregnant women and mothers in Forsyth County with educational and medical resources since 1996.

Beth Hathorn, executive director of Whispering Hope, said the new maternity home has been a dream in the making for several years, and she and her team were excited to finally see that dream become a reality at the end of June.

“We were thrilled, and we just give God all the glory because we know we couldn’t have done this without his help,” Hathorn said. “And we know that he’s made it possible. And we know that he cares about these moms and these babies as much as we do.”

The home can serve up to four pregnant women or new mothers at one time. The single mothers, age 18 or older, can live in the home at no cost for the duration of their pregnancy and up until the baby is 18 months old.

During that time, residents would have access to resources provided through the Cumming Women’s Center, operated by Whispering Hope, and its programming. This includes educational and medical resources to help teach them about their pregnancy, parenting, life skills and more.

Hathorn explained that each resident also has a mentor to help support them through their pregnancy, and there are house parents who live in a separate portion of the house to provide support in the case of an emergency.

Aside from these resources, Whispering Hope plans to network with other organizations and businesses in the community to find more resources for the residents.

“When we come alongside a mom, we really want her to thrive,” Hathorn said. “We want her and her baby to thrive. We want her to be successful. We really try to look at what are her needs? We look at each aspect of her life: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. It’s all important to us if we want her to be healthy and whole.”

Hathorn said she and her team came up with the idea for the home years ago as they started to see more and more young women come to Whispering Hope with the need for stable and secure housing.

Especially for college-age women, she said just having a safe place to stay during pregnancy where they can continue their education or continue to work is lifechanging.

“This was really the motivation for us to [open the home] because, so many times, we see women who are living in just awful situations,” Hathorn said. “Maybe they’re living out of their car, maybe they’re living in a garage, maybe they are sleeping on a friend’s sofa and then sleeping on another friend’s sofa, or maybe they are in a situation where it’s just unstable or chaotic or even dangerous.

“The need for a safe, stable environment — it’s huge,” she continued. “It really can give somebody a lot of hope when they find themselves in a difficult situation.”

The staff at Whispering Hope was able to open the new maternity home under Betsy’s Law, or SB 116, which allowed nonprofits in the state to offer free maternity supportive housing and resources to pregnant and postpartum women starting at age 18. Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law earlier this year, and it went into effect on July 1.

Hathorn said they don’t have any residents now because she and her team are waiting on state approval, but she said they are expected to receive approval “any day now.”

In the meantime, she said they are excited for the opportunity to expand their services and provide housing for women who need it.

“We just want people to know that we are here for them,” Hathorn said. “We’ve been here since 1996, and we will continue to be here for them.”

For more information about Living Hope or Whispering Hope, visit www.supportwhisperinghope.org or send an email to support@whisperinghope.org.