Moms with sick newborns thankful for free housing during shelter-in-place

Maddie gave birth to her baby girl at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Mission Bay three weeks before the shelter in place order.

She came to San Francisco from Arizona because her daughter needed open heart surgery just hours after birth on Feb. 25. 

"It's hard to know how to navigate this situation," said Maddie, who asked not to use her full name. 

Initially, both Maddie and her husband could be by their daughter's side.

But shelter-in-place orders now mean only one person at a time is allowed to be with the baby.

"I oftentimes feel isolated," said Maddie.

But she is also grateful as she has a temporary home nearby.

It's provided free of charge by Ronald McDonald House in partnership with Apartment List and Veritas, a private property management company.

The hospital has temporarily closed the family housing on campus due to COVID-19 concerns.

Ronald McDonald House is a nonprofit known for its work offering temporary housing for the families of children hospitalized with life-threatening illnesses.

"The kids that are coming here are the sickest of the sick. They have to come to the Bay Area to be treated so to be able to have an option for these families is incredible," said Laura Boudreau, CEO of Ronald McDonald House. 

Veritas donated the apartments.

"My own family was the beneficiary of housing provided by Ronald McDonald House. My sister was chronically ill with epilepsy,  was seeking treatment," said Jeff Jerden, COO with Veritas. 

Expectant mother Lindsay Soares arrived in San Francisco from Merced on Monday to move into an apartment provided by the partnership group.

Her baby, due in a month, has been diagnosed with a hole in the diaphragm and will require surgery.

Adding to the stress, Soares said, is not being able to have her husband or mother by her side when her baby recovers in the hospital.

"It's going to be very hard. I try to be as strong as I can but until it actually happens, we'll see," said Soares. "Without a physical touch or somebody next to me supporting me, it is going to be difficult."

Amber Lee is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Amber at and follow her on Twitter@AmberKTVU