Founded in 2002 by Wes Patten, Hope House began in his family’s small rental home. Formerly a pastor in Seattle, Washington, Patten felt that God was leading him to this area to begin this ministry. With the support of local churches and individuals who shared the vision for Hope House, they were able to purchase the first maternity home in 2003. There are now two maternity homes in Kingsport; one that houses nine women and a transitional apartment that houses eight.
Unlike most pregnancy crisis centers, Hope House offers a long-term residential program that allows women who qualify to stay up to two years in a maternity home. The staff believes that support should not end when the baby is born. Transportation, food, clothing and baby supplies are provided along with lodging. To help cover the many expenses of Hope House, the United Way of Greater Kingsport provides two grants, and the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities makes a yearly donation. Other sources of assistance are area churches and individuals who take a pro-life stand.
In addition to the maternity homes, the Hope House Center for Women opened in 2005. It provides walk-in services for expectant women, single dads, grandparents raising their grandchildren, or anyone who is in need of baby supplies. Since it opened, the center has had over 1,000 people register for services. Services include pregnancy testing, options counseling, maternity and baby items and classes on prenatal, postnatal and parenting education. Center Director Angie Martin, who has been with Hope House for 14 years, shared what she considers to be the core vision of Hope House. “We’re very quick as Christians to tell everybody what we’re against. We’re against abortion and for life; but what does that look like? It has to be more than a bumper sticker on the back of your car,” she said. “What would it look like if people who are taking a stand for life came up alongside a young expectant woman and said, ‘What do you need? I’m in it with you for the long haul.’”
Angie explained that many women who consider abortion often have no hope in their situation and don’t believe that they can go through a pregnancy with no support. They also feel abandoned by the people they were counting on, and sometimes feel like they cannot afford a baby. Hope House offers these women hope, support and encouragement. Angie said that she works with around 30 women a month and coordinates up to eight classes per month. In addition to the classes, counseling and other services, the center is stocked with baby supplies. A rack of tiny winter coats lines the hallway, and another room is filled with well-organized storage totes of clothing, toys and other baby items.
No matter who walks through the doors of the Hope House Center for Women, they are greeted with love and acceptance and given much-needed hope. “You can’t help but get excited at how God is working in lives,” said Angie. “When we can get to the core of these women’s lives and introduce them to Jesus, it’s a life changer!”
Financial help from the community is crucial to the ongoing work of Hope House, which is a 501(c)(3) public charity. All donations are tax deductible and can be made online at www.hopehouse.us, mailed to the business office at P. O. Box 5821, Kingsport, TN 37663, or brought in to the center located at 1567 N. Eastman Rd, Suite 7. A current list of urgent needs, as well as ongoing needs, can be found on the website. To inquire about volunteer opportunities, call the office at (423) 247-7994. You can help make a difference by helping young women who need love, support and most of all, HOPE.