Many years ago, a baby girl was born in a Hispanic community in Denver to severely alcoholic parents who could not care for her and her siblings. Her father was a migrant worker, and her mother suffered from psychological problems. The children were split up and she was sent to live with different family members and in various girls’ homes – but none gave her the emotional nourishment she needed.
At 15, she fell pregnant. She was told by her caretakers to give her child up for adoption but she refused. Being trapped in the system for so long herself, she wasn’t going to allow her son to experience the same. After giving birth, she and her newborn son were left at the hospital with nowhere to go.
A Black nurse offered to take them in. Despite her reservations about moving to an unfamiliar community during the era of segregation, she accepted the generous offer. She quickly got on her feet, sought work and started a whirlwind romance with a young, Black soldier who would become her partner and the father of her second child.
The girl was Antoinette “Toni” Espinosa, a single, uneducated woman of humble means who raised two children who would later obtain Masters degrees and grow into healthy, thriving and successful adults. Without the kindness of the nurse who saw no color, took a teen girl in, and gave her an opportunity, who knows where Toni and her son would have ended up.
Founded by Toni’s daughter, Monique, Toni’s House is dedicated to her determination, celebrating the kindness of strangers and providing a space for second chances.
Our Theory of Change
Mission: Toni’s House provides a safe living environment and a supportive community for people in transition, to help them heal, reconnect with children and family, and develop the skills needed for a healthy and fulfilled life.
Vision: Communities work together to ensure that the basic needs of the most vulnerable are supported so that everyone has an opportunity to be safe, healthy, and thrive.
Leadership & Staff
Toni’s House is led by a small, dedicated team which contributes every day to ensure the consistent operations of both the women’s and men’s houses.
Monique Ellis Westfield
- Founder and Chairwoman of the Board
As the bi-racial daughter of her Mexican mother, Antoinette “Toni” Espinoza, and her African American father, Barclay Gordon, and coming from an economically diverse area of Los Angeles, California in the ’60s, Monique was blessed with having a unique life experience. This is an asset that helps her work with people of all backgrounds.
She received a Bachelor’s degree from the UNLV School of Journalism in 1983 and later obtained a Master’s in Journalism from The University of North Texas. Over the past 35 years, she spent her time helping those in need through working with various organizations.
Partners and Funders
Toni’s House is blessed to have many caring partners and funders that make a huge difference not just to the organization, but also to everyone who comes to Toni’s House.
Toni's House Partners
Straight from the Streets
Young Men’s Service League
Toni's House Funders
AAA Certified Solar
Community Associations Institute
Las Vegas Carpenters Union