May 24, 2023

Empowering women in recovery

Founded in 1957, Santa Maria is an organization serving women who are recovering from addiction living in the Houston area and beyond. The women live in one of the multiple facilities, which is complete with a welcoming reception area, cafeteria plastered with colorful posters and a caring and attentive staff. The staff’s expertise is not only in supporting the mental steps of the recovery process, but also the physical; boasting relationships with hospitals and medical centers, with physicians readily available to jump in and help a resident in need. They also help medical staff with addiction and recovery education, to eliminate stigma within the medical community.

Santa Maria Nadine Scamp has been the chief executive officer of Santa Maria Hostel for the last ten years, and her care and dedication to these women is palpable from the moment you meet her.

“I love seeing the potential for renewal and hope,” says Scamp. “Being able to see these moms connect with their children…I love seeing people happy.”

When Santa Maria says they help all women, they truly mean it. 

“We try to tailor our services to meet the needs of the population,” says Scamp. 

That population includes female veterans experiencing homelessness, survivors of trafficking and more.

The state of Texas’ addiction and recovery landscape

Over the past 20 years, Texas Health and Human Services has recorded an increasing number of accidental overdose deaths. In 2020 and 2021, those numbers were higher than 3,000 per year. Opioid-related overdose deaths have increased 56% from December 2019 through March 2022.

Santa Maria is working to bring these numbers down. In 2022, the hostel served 5,418 women, children and family members. 95% of those being served are at or below the poverty level, and 83% have secured permanent housing since leaving the facility.

Santa Maria building

The staff at Santa Maria are also working to alleviate pressure on an already stressed medical system. According to a collaborative study by the Association of Substance Abuse Programs, Recovery People and Texas Association of Addiction Professionals, an opioid overdose in Texas costs $35,908 per overnight hospital admission. If left untreated, substance abuse disorders can result in about $350 million per year in emergency room charges. 

Santa Maria takes in women who could potentially be left untreated or without any resources.

Each woman enrolled in Santa Maria immediately becomes connected with a “coach” who oversees every aspect of their recovery. These coaches take each woman’s journey as seriously as if it was their own.

Michelle, a former resident of Santa Maria and current employee, recounts an example of when helping someone through recovery is more than a 9-5 commitment.

Michelle recalled that a pregnant woman had been in and out of the emergency room. She kept leaving during or before her treatment, to the frustration of the hospital staff. A hospital employee who knew of the program reached out and asked Michelle to keep her engaged until she was admitted.

“I started engaging with her,” Michelle recalls. “And I’m making mums because my son’s homecoming is coming up and I’m trying to get these mums done, but I’ve got my phone right next to me.” She laughs. That night, the two women texted from 6:00 to 11:30 p.m.

“We’re just chatting about stuff–life,” says Michelle. “I’m telling her ‘I know you’re scared, I’ve been there.’ I tried to tell her a little bit about my story. [Telling her] ‘you’ve got support, I’m here to support you.’ Sometimes it’s the little things we do.”

Santa Maria new mothers

New mothers and residents of Santa Maria Hostel participate in a class offering tips and assistance with their newborns.

Beyond addiction recovery and medical assistance, Santa Maria holds guidance classes for new and expectant mothers. At one of these classes, the women all sit around a table, some rocking their newborns to sleep, and organically discuss with a counselor the best ways to bathe baby, swaddle baby, and more. The counselor answers questions from the mothers with patience and understanding, helping to calm any nerves or anxieties about bringing new life into the world.

Katie, an employee of the center who has also been through recovery, emphasizes that working at Santa Maria was life changing.

“This was my first job where I felt confident and like I had a purpose,” she says. “Like there was something for me to do in the world.”

Caring for Two: support from Texas Mutual

To support Texas communities, businesses and working families, Texas Mutual has awarded $3.2 million in grants to 48 organizations through its Request for Proposal (RFP) initiative focused on generational learning. Many of the businesses awarded, such as Santa Maria, are making a difference in families through their health and wellness support.

Recovery group photoThe Caring for Two center specializes in caring for pregnant women or mothers with young children going through addiction. This center was made possible by the funding awarded by Texas Mutual Insurance Company. 

Texas Mutual’s first priority is serving the people of Texas, and they want to ensure that no one’s needs are overlooked at any stage of their life.

Santa Maria has spent the last 60 years caring for women who are struggling with addiction, and Texas Mutual is honored to be a partner in their mission. The staff is dedicated, caring and committed to the journeys of each and every woman who walks through their halls.

Explore programs from Santa Maria and learn more about Texas Mutual’s 2023 community funding for nonprofits.  

Share on: