Mothers and their children deserve safety, resources, and support. But too many young moms find themselves without the care they need to raise the next generation. Some young women may face an unplanned pregnancy. Some find themselves in a relationship that has turned abusive. Some face seemingly impossible financial struggles, with nowhere to sleep and nowhere to shelter tiny lives.
Life can get hard for these young mothers, just when they need care the most. We step in at that critical juncture, and stay the course. We help them write a second story, for themselves and for their children.
The Second Story for Young Mothers program provides housing, counseling and training to homeless women age 16 to 24 who are pregnant or have young children. We put an emphasis on parenting skills, completing an education, job readiness, and basic self-sufficiency so that young women will be able to support themselves and their children, breaking the cycle of poverty, abuse, or homelessness.
First Step: Intensive Services
Homeless, pregnant, and parenting young women between the ages of 18 and 22 live independently in townhomes for up to 18 months and receive comprehensive services and support to help them on their road to independence.
Young women taking their first step are required to work or go to school at least 30 hours a week. 45 percent of their earnings are placed into savings or applied to debt reduction. They also attend weekly life skills groups, parenting groups, workshops, and case management sessions. All basic living costs are covered in this step and assistance is provided in locating transportation and child care.
In 2014, 15 young women and their children were part of this program. All of them progressed in being able to support themselves and their children, becoming a part of their community. All of them deepened their abilities to be nurturing and attentive parents, helping them to break the cycle of abuse and poverty and write a second story for them and their children.
Next Steps: Independent Living
Young mothers who are further on the road to independence but still need a little help may enter the Next Steps phase. Most of the young women in the Next Steps phase have graduated from the First Step phase. This program allows the young mother to live in her own apartment with her child. She saves 35 percent of her adjusted net income while in the program. She receives case management, therapy, and parenting skills support. Second Story staff continue to provide assistance to help these young mothers progress towards full self-sufficiency. These mothers may stay in their apartment with Next Steps support for up to 24 months.
Homeless young parents age 16-24 years old and their children can receive free counseling and support from the Second Story for Young Mothers program. Help with budgeting, participation in life skills, parenting, nutrition and employment groups as well as individual counseling are available.