Mission and Overview
Deeply rooted in the Orange County community, Casa Teresa provides pregnant women in crisis a loving home to begin their healing journey. With a trusted and compassionate team of professionals and a proven residential program, we empower mothers in learning lifelong skills to end cycles of homelessness, abuse, and addiction; regain control of their futures; and create families that thrive.
Founded in 1976 in Santa Ana, Casa Teresa was envisioned as a home for pregnant women over the age of 18 who were alone and had no support. At the time, there were very few resources or shelters specifically for single, homeless pregnant women, and founders Neill and Sally Sullivan launched Casa Teresa as a four-unit building and cottage to meet the need. After nearly a decade in Santa Ana, Casa Teresa moved to its current site in Orange in 1985, where its Old Towne location ensured access to nearby stores, public transportation, and healthcare for residents.
Besides accessibility, Casa Teresa has ensured that the needs of pregnant women and mothers are met by adding new programs and services. For example, we established the Hannah’s House Adoption Program in 1995 to address the needs of women interested in placing their baby with an adoptive family. In 2001, we opened the communal-style Transformation I Program to serve residents who would benefit from a longer stay with Casa Teresa, and the independent apartment building housing the Transformation II Program soon followed in 2006.
Most recently, we opened a new site—the Emergency Maternity Shelter (EMS)—in 2013, catering specifically to women struggling with chronic homelessness, substance abuse, and other intensive issues. Located several blocks from our main site, it also serves as the home for our Alumni Resource Center, which provides educational classes, case management, and other supportive services for graduates from our programs.
To date, Casa Teresa has served more than 6,000 women, children and babies in nearly 40 years of service, currently accommodating up to 54 women and babies at full capacity. Led by a 19-member Board of Directors, we have 29 dedicated full-time and part-time staff members, as well as 375 volunteers giving more than 8,500 hours of service teaching classes, babysitting, providing professional support and guidance, tutoring, and landscaping. Together, this team is eager to continue expanding and deepening services that empower mothers to reclaim their lives and nurture healthy families.