"History is a novel for which the people is the author. ~Alfred de Vigny"
In 1985, two Incarnate Word Sisters, Neomi Hayes and Yolanda Tarango, founded Visitation House, based on the mission to meet the needs of economically vulnerable women and children.
Visitation House derives its name from the Gospel narrative of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth in order to assist her in a time of need (Luke 1:39-56).
With the help of a loan from their congregation, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the two sisters purchased an old rundown mansion and opened a shelter for women and children. After several years, it became clear to the Sisters that temporary shelter offered only a band-aid solution because it did not bring about real change. It did NOT affect the root cause of the families’ homelessness – Poverty.
In addition, the sisters realized that unless there was some improvement in the women’s skill sets, these families would continue to live at or below the poverty line and be subject to the threat of homelessness.
They determined that lack of education was (and still is) both a root cause and a symptom of poverty and that providing the resources to help raise women raise their education levels would be a key anti-poverty strategy
Education is the key to change for these women.
In 1993, the Sisters purchased an Apartment Building adjacent to Visitation House.
They transformed the shelter into a Supportive Housing and Education Model to address inadequate education among women with young children experiencing homelessness.
They aimed to create an atmosphere of common caring and mutual respect and to ensure an environment where mothers and their children could develop self-confidence, excel academically and feel safe and secure, living in stable and healthy surroundings.
In 2006, the Sisters extended the valuable VHM education services into the community to reach out to more women than the housing program could serve
In 2020, the Sisters retired and moved out of the Visitation House. The ministry transitioned to lay leadership under the direction of Andrea Hofstetter.
The house sold in 2022 and the adminstrative office relocated to the VHM education center at 830 W. Mulberry Ave., one block from the apartment building. The house gives the gift of growth and expansion for the future.