Elizabeth House exists to provide shelter, hope and support to homeless, pregnant women and their children by addressing their physical, emotional, spiritual, and economic needs in a nurturing atmosphere. Elizabeth House has been serving women and children in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years.

Elizabeth House is a residential shelter program in the community of Pasadena committed to the health and welfare of adult pregnant women and their children.  Elizabeth House is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the San Gabriel Valley that specifically addresses the needs of pregnant women who also have small children and who lack adequate shelter and prenatal care.


Elizabeth House was birthed as an idea in 1993 after a local Pasadena resident donated a house to the Pasadena Covenant Church for the purpose of serving at-risk women and children in the community. A task force researched the need in the greater Pasadena area and concluded that there was not a shelter in existence within 15 miles that specifically took in adult pregnant women who may or may not already have children. It was during this time, that the Task Force chairperson, Debora Unruh, witnessed firsthand in the hospital, a woman losing custody of her newborn baby due to her drug use and homeless situation. This experience infused in Debora, a passion to make a difference in this target population. As the founding director, she led community partners, churches, civic groups, individuals, businesses, and foundations in a partnership of opening the house to its first resident on July 15, 1994.

Twenty years later, Elizabeth House has provided essential shelter, food, care and counseling for 280 women and 400+ babies/children in the San Gabriel Valley. This basic yet comprehensive service of meeting the physical, economic, emotional and spiritual needs of this population continues to be a huge need today.


Each woman who enters Elizabeth House participates in our main programs: Case Management, Parent Education, Health Education, Financial Management, Job Skills Training, Therapeutic Services (individual counseling and group classes), and Spiritual/Emotional Health. The House can accommodate six women and four children at any one time. Clients stay 4-6 months after their babies are born.  In a year’s time, an average of 15-18 family units are served. The goal of our program is not only to support these women during their time of crisis, but also to challenge them in a way that prevents issues such as financial instability child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, and drug dependency in order to provide a healthy, positive environment for their children.

The methods of responding to the needs of the clientele are seen clearly in the comprehensive program developed for the residents of Elizabeth House. The strength of this program is most clearly seen in the personal case management that is offered each resident, which includes educational classes, one-on-one weekly meetings, and individual and group therapy.


Over these past several years, it has become very clear to us that much of the long-term success of our program lies in the follow-up care and support that is provided to our alumni after they transition to independent living. The follow-up that is provided to our alumni is essential and critical, and as this number of clients has grown, it has become necessary to expand the services we offer.

The goal of our program is to stay connected with our clients as long as they continue to need our services. We recognize that our clients developed unhealthy patterns over a lifetime, and as such, changing those life patterns into healthy and sustaining behaviors will require a long-term relationship and support system.  Currently, we are in contact with over 70% of the residents after they leave Elizabeth House.  The Elizabeth House Follow-Up program assists our past residents with continuing their therapy, finding employment, moving into safe and affordable housing, and following up with healthy living (drug and alcohol sobriety, doctor’s appointments, and nutrition). The Case Manager visits and evaluates the residents’ independent living situations following their departure from Elizabeth House. Our Follow-Up program exemplifies our commitment to helping the residents become self-sufficient, functioning parents and members of our community. We also partner with various organizations that can offer more specific education and service, helping our clients to take advantage of the many resources available.




We serve women who meet any or all of the following requirements: 

  • Must be pregnant
  • Age 18 and older
  • May or may not have children
  • Homeless or lacking family support
  • Victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse
  • Emancipated foster youth
  • Crisis pregnancy
  • Low income

Through a comprehensive residential program, Elizabeth House partners with women to help them overcome their own unique obstacles. Our program includes professional mental health services, mentoring, partnership with drug/alcohol treatment program, mother-infant dyad training, and a strong sense of community and support.


…A safe place of refuge
…A nurturing home
…A celebratory environment where women learn to be healthy mothers
…A place where babies and children are welcome
…A place where self-sufficiency is the aspiration
…A place where broken and wounded lives are touched with healing grace


The positive life-changing outcomes are a result of the quality in-resident program as well as the follow-up services we offer the 228 alumni who have gone through our program.  As the only agency in the San Gabriel Valley that provides this unique and specific service, we aspire to:

  • Promote healthy births
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect
  • Eliminate relapse of homelessness
  • Empower and equip self-sufficiency
  • Cultivate emotional, physical, and spiritual health and well-being
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Elizabeth House is proud to have a close relationship with foundations, civic groups, businesses, and churches, all who become involved through their personal involvement or through financial support:  In the past 3 years, these organizations have partnered with us:


  • Ahmanson Foundation
  • Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation
  • City of Pasadena, Community Block Grant
  • Disney VoluntEars Community Fund
  • In-N-Out Burger Foundation
  • Marisla Foundation
  • Kenneth and Eileen T. Norris Foundation
  • L.A. Clippers Foundation
  • Pasadena Foothill Area Realtors Association
  • Pasadena Community Foundation
  • Patron Saints Foundation
  • Ralph M Parsons Foundation
  • Rose Hills Foundation
  • S. Mark Taper Foundation
  • The Green Foundation
  • Weingart Foundation


  • American Contract Bridge League
  • Arcadia Kiwanis
  • FOE of Eagle Rock
  • Girl and Boy Scouts of America
  • La Canada Junior Women’s Club
  • La Canada Kiwanis
  • Mom’s Club of Pasadena
  • Mother’s & More
  • Pasadena Fire Dept
  • Pasadena Kiwanis
  • Pasadena Soroptimist
  • PEO of Glendale
  • The Salvation Army


  • Arcadia Presbyterian Church
  • Altadena Baptist Church
  • Christian Assembly, Eagle Rock
  • Community Life Fellowship, Pasadena
  • Eagle Rock Baptist Church
  • First Lutheran of Pasadena
  • Glendale Presbyterian Church
  • Inglewood Community Church
  • Knox Presbyterian, Pasadena
  • La Canada Presbyterian Church
  • La Crescenta Presbyterian Church
  • Lake Ave Congregational Church
  • Montrose Church
  • Morningside Communion Church, Monrovia
  • New Life Christian Church, Glendale
  • Pacific Crossroads Church
  • Pasadena Covenant Church
  • Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene
  • Saddleback Los Angeles
  • San Marino Community Church
  • Scott United Methodist, Pasadena
  • Sierra Madre Congregational Church
  • St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Pasadena