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Stephanie’s Story

Inspired by Stephanie and other pregnant women living in poverty, Western Center led advocacy efforts to successfully pass Assembly Bill 1579 (Stone, 2014), designed to prevent homelessness and insure the health of newborns.


It was September of 2012 and Stephanie was living on the streets for the first time in her life. She just found out she was pregnant after she and her boyfriend both lost their fast food jobs. Stephanie sought help through legal aid, but found she would not be eligible for benefits through the county until she was in her third trimester.

She had nowhere to go. The shelter for pregnant women was full. After being without a home for two months, things got worse. Stephanie had lost weight and now found herself alone when her boyfriend was arrested after defending Stephanie from another man’s attack. When asked where she would go when she went into labor and what her plan was, Stephanie just shrugged. At six months pregnant, she had not had a pre-natal visit. She looked forward to reaching the 3rd trimester, when she would become eligible for CalWORKs and Medi-Cal. With the small grant of less than $400 per month, Stephanie could get a place to live, stabilize her life and “figure things out.”

Inspired by Stephanie and other pregnant women living in poverty, Western Center led advocacy efforts to successfully pass Assembly Bill 1579 (Stone, 2014), which now allows pregnant women in their 2nd trimester to receive assistance through CalWORKs, upon verification of pregnancy. Designed to prevent homelessness and insure the health of newborns, this new law is a major step forward for pregnant women throughout California.