#CCHACares: The O’Connor House

POST DATE: 3.20.23

After reflecting on the many deserving organizations we highlighted last year (see our 2022 recap here), we are excited to shine a light on this month’s organization: The O’Connor House.

The O’Connor House is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a Christian home to help single, pregnant, and homeless women improve life for themselves and their children.

With March being Women’s History Month, a month focused on commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history, the time felt right to highlight The O’Connor House.


Their “Why”

Homelessness threatens women in crisis pregnancies. The founders of The O’Connor House realized a need for housing for pregnant women in Hamilton County.

Providing housing and care, education and life skills training, and coaching on career planning and job searching empowers women and provides long-term progress toward a path out of poverty.

"We have been blessed to serve and love over 510 women and babies at The O'Connor House, the need is there. We learn and grow together. Without our community, we would not be able to provide all that is needed, physically or mentally. Being single, pregnant, and homeless is such a complex situation to work through and the trauma of it all. We try every day to do what we can to support and serve the women that have the trust and courage to live at The O'Connor House to build a better life for themselves and their children. We will never know what it has been like to walk in their shoes. We pray for them and for the guidance to help. No story or journey is the same,” says O'Connor House Executive Director Michelle Corrao.

The O Connor House picture

Image of The O’Connor House, located in Carmel, Indiana.

About The O’Connor House’s Services

The O’Connor House provides all many aspects of care and support for both mother and child.

Shelter: Each resident can stay up to 18 months with her new baby and up to two additional children under the age of 5. Each mother receives her own room for her and her child(ren).

Food: The O’Connor House has a large community kitchen to make it easy for all residents to cook their own meals. There is also “community” food, vegetable gardens, and a weekly “Community Night” meal that is provided by the House and cooked by a different resident each week.

Image of women at the O Connor House

Clothing: Residents are provided with any clothing they are in need of, such as work clothes, baby clothes, or seasonal clothes.

Transportation: Staff and volunteers drive residents to their destinations within Hamilton County. This includes transporting to work, school, daycare, grocery stores, doctor visits, etc.

Health: Mind, Body, and Spirit: Residents are offered weekly professional counseling, including both group and individual sessions, weekly bible study sessions, and a variety of educational lessons and classes, including prenatal care, parenting, cooking and nutrition, and a variety of lessons and classes.

Education: They encourage every resident to complete her high school degree. We provide career counseling and planning.

Image of women celebrating a graduation

Life Skills: Through our Life Skills Program, each resident will get to work with our staff on goals and personal development. Each week a different class is offered on a particular topic, such as time management, parenting, budgeting, cooking, or independent living.

A Loving Environment: The O’Connor House provides a home that promotes respect and dignity, and helps women gain the knowledge and skills to improve life for themselves, their children, and future generations. Our compassionate staff and volunteers offer hope and encouragement to each woman.

Carrao also noted a new program at The O’Connor House. "Something we have grown in the last year is our Alumni Program. We thrive on staying in touch with our Alumni and provide ongoing support, with diapers, wipes, toiletry items, clothing, gift cards for groceries, gas, and more, and even a month's rent if needed. We have four events for alumni during the year and they become mentors for the current women at the house. We consider all who live at the house family."

Their History

On a trip to celebrate the “March for Life”, Colleen DuLac of Carmel, IN, heard a homily at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which impacted her profoundly. Through the homily, she received a message directly from God that she was to open a home for single, homeless, pregnant women and their children.

Colleen traveled back to Carmel and alongside friend Kris Bussick, researched the needs of Hamilton County and the surrounding area. They discover the urgent need for housing for women in crisis pregnancies, especially for women who are over 18 years and have additional children.

They held their first fundraiser in 2005, raising $60,000 and allowing the organization to officially open the doors of a house that could house five women at a time. The first year was rent-free thanks to the generosity of three businessmen who believed in their cause.

In 2010, The O’Connor House received a $500,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis for the construction of a new home. That grant made it possible to purchase the land at 45 N. Village Drive, in Carmel and construct a home that now serves up to eight women at a time, plus their babies and toddlers.

The O’Connor House expanded its services in 2014 to include professional counseling to help the women heal from past abuse and traumatic experiences. They also created a comprehensive Life Skills Program including classes covering topics such as nutrition, interviewing skills, parenting, and budgeting.

In 2017 they continued to expand their offerings through a Life Skills Program to include a mentor component, helping to empower the women to make transformative changes, with long-term progress towards a path out of poverty.

Today, The O’Connor House has served and sheltered over 500 mothers and children.

Upcoming O’Connor House events

Join Bash and Purse Strings for their upcoming event to benefit The O’Connor House at Bash’s Carmel location. Fifteen percent of sales will go to The O’Connor House.

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The O’Connor House hosts a Baby on the Way 5k for families looking to run or walk and support the nonprofit. Save the date for October 23, 2023.

Image of Baby on the Way 5k Logo

How to support The O’Connor House

There are many ways to support The O’Connor House by giving a financial donation, signing up to volunteer, or donating needed items. Your gift to The O’Connor House provides life-changing resources including safe shelter, food, clothing, and transportation. It also helps to provide professional counseling, education, career planning/job skills, and other life skills classes to young women who are working hard to improve their lives and the lives of their children.