Elizabeth House Founder Debbie Unruh Honored at Dedication and Retirement Celebration – Pasadena Now


Around Elizabeth House, a Pasadena nonprofit for expectant mothers and their children, about founder and executive director Debbie Unruh, who was honored at Thursday’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, apparently frequently. There is a story being told.

About 30 years ago, when Debbie was in labor with one of her sons at the local hospital, she heard nurses talking in the corridor outside. What she learned from her conversation was that the woman in the room next to her was homeless and had nowhere to go once the child was born and no one could go.

Unruh got out of bed and went to the next room to visit the young woman and sit with her.

I decided to devote myself to creating a place for such women.

After 29 years of service, Unruh has been honored by many local leaders and officials, as well as representatives from the offices of Mayor Victor Gordo, State Senator Anthony Portantino and Congressman Judy Chu.

A new plaque was also unveiled, dedicating the Elizabeth House facility to Unruh.

“I often talk about Pasadena and its special place, but what makes Pasadena special is not the Rose Bowl games and parades, Caltech and JPL, but people like Debbie,” said Mayor Gordo. said.

Established in 1994 in a home provided by the Pasadena Covenant Church, Elizabeth House works to break the cycle of homelessness, abuse and suffering. Through shelter and support, the nonprofit empowers pregnant and parenting women to reclaim their lives and build successful family legacies.

Since its inception, Elizabeth House has served 375 women, 602 children/grandchildren and has seen 325 babies born through its programs.

With wraparound services and a strong alumni program, it’s also the only residential program in the entire San Gabriel Valley that accepts both expectant mothers and children up to 5 years old.

Unruh recalls: She walked nervously down the aisle with only a small suitcase. I just thought if we give them a clean place and a comfortable place.

Twenty-nine years later, she was proven wrong.

For more information on Elizabeth House, click here.

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