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Nonprofit to double service with new property

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Milagro House, a Lancaster nonprofit that offers mothers a place to stay with their families while they get an education, plans to move from its 669 West Chestnut St., Lancaster, property, in the next two years.
Milagro House, a Lancaster nonprofit that offers mothers a place to stay with their families while they get an education, plans to move from its 669 West Chestnut St., Lancaster, property, in the next two years.

Lancaster nonprofit Milagro House purchased a new building in September with plans to double the number of families living and getting an education on its property.

Milagro House has operated out of its current property for 14 years, housing Lancaster mothers in need and their families while they work toward an education.

Milagro’s executive director, Christina Duncan, feels that the current program is working as intended, but said the focus of the new home is to help more families.

"Our phone is ringing off the hook and we have a waiting list and it is really hard to tell a woman who is ready to move her family forward that we can’t accommodate her," Duncan said. "We just need to increase capacity."

Milagro House has operated in Lancaster for 20 years, offering impoverished and homeless mothers the chance to get a GED or a post-secondary education without having to worry about where they and their children are living.

"Children who live in poverty have a less likely chance to succeed. If we can get a mother to be sustainable, so can her children," Duncan said.

The nonprofit currently houses nine women and 14 children at its location at 669 W. Chestnut St. The communal home has an education space, where participants in the program can study after taking classes at Milagro’s school, which us rented out of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

The new property, at 132 and 134 South Prince St., Lancaster, is about 10,000 square feet and could hold twice as many families, according to Duncan. Milagro will be starting a capital campaign in 2019 to fund renovations, which are planned to be finished in two to three years. 

The nonprofit has not yet announced the cost of the new building, which Duncan said is slated to be announced at a later date.

Milagro sold a number of homes it had been using on South Christian Street to Habitat for Humanity in December 2017. Duncan said the other properties pulled the nonprofit in too many directions.

"Being under one roof gives us a more cohesive program," she said. "This allows us to develop some really wonderful collaborations in the Lancaster area."

As Milagro begins to pull together a capital campaign, Duncan said that it will be looking into how the organization can serve Lancaster more creatively. She said it’s possible that in the coming years Milagro will have a non-residential component, which could be facilitated by partnerships with other nonprofits.

Beyond the education portion of the program, Milagro also holds supporting programming like financial education and child care, which it will look into expanding with the new building.

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Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis covers health care and Lancaster County. Email him at ipashakis@cpbj.com.

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