Baby's First Home - A residential program for homeless teen mothers and their children

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Baby's First Home - A residential program for homeless teen mothers and their children

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Baby's First Home is a supportive transitional housing facility that plans to provide shelter and supportive services to teen mothers and their children.

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Your idea
Field of Work

social justice/human rights

If Field of Work is “other” please define in 1-2 words below
Year project started (or projected start date) (yyyy)

2008

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What is the primary problem your venture is trying to address and how are you addressing it (or planning to address it)?

The Institute for Children and Poverty (“ICP”), which researches issues of family homelessness and also provides services for homeless families in New York City, recently released a report called “Children Having Children: Teen Pregnancy and Homelessness in New York City.” In its report, ICP concluded that nearly half of all homeless families in New York City were headed by women who were teenage mothers. The report surveyed 337 homeless women residing in New York City shelters, finding that 32% of these women were homeless before the age of 18 and 42% of them had been homeless more than once. The report also found that children of homeless teenage mothers were three times more likely to experience homelessness numerous times and 60% more likely to be removed from their parents care and placed into foster care.

BFH recognizes that there is a distressed population of young women with children who are no longer welcome in their family homes, have aged out of foster care, and are left to support themselves and provide for their child(ren) without the tools to do so. As shelter and food are their main priority, they often drop out of school and work low-income jobs just to survive. As a result, they end up struggling to survive for the rest of their lives.

The program, Baby’s First Home (BFH), will be a supportive housing unit for 5 mothers (17-21) and their children. We have a 6-unit building in Elmhurst, Queens that will provide shelter to 5 families and a live-in social worker. By offering counseling services, educational and vocational training, health education, and other supportive services, we plan to help mothers build independent lives and stable futures for themselves and their children upon completion of our program. We hope to reduce homelessness and poverty for a targeted group of women and children.

Innovation
Project Description

Baby's First Home is a supportive transitional housing facility that plans to provide shelter and supportive services to teen mothers and their children.

Unique and different

We plan to make our services unique and different by partnering with New York University and using student volunteers/mentors to create a strong youth volunteer corps in conjuncture with our program. We also plan on focusing on empowering teen mothers by rewarding them for fulfilling their responsibilities as mothers and reinforcing heir good behaviors by exposing them to a vast array of cultural and education experiences available in New York City.

Project plan

Our main focus for the next 6 months is to raise over $200,000 to support the program in its first year and to continue to build our network of supporters and other pregnancy service providers.

We are currently applying for multiple grants and planning large fundraising events.

Partnerships

We have many successful partnerships in the New York area. We created most of our partnerships by contacting organizations that currently serve teen mothers and asking those organizations to connect us with any resources that may be helpful to fulfilling our mission.

One of our most successful partnerships is with a well established residential program for teen mothers and their children on Long Island, NY. We work closely with them to understand the day-to-day functions of a housing unit, the challenges we might face in working with this population, and to decide what we will do differently in our own program.

We have also built successful partnerships with a pregnancy counseling center and the national director of the Baby Safe Haven alliance. The pregnancy counseling center has agreed to run a pregnancy resource center in partnership with our organization and when our program is open it will also be considered a Baby Safe Haven site.

Impact
Impact

We hope to reduce poverty and homelessness for a targeted group of a women and children.

Effectiveness

Our project has inspired many youth and women. Our residential program is not yet open, but our organization will help reduce homelessness and poverty for teen mothers in Queens, NY.

How do you engage and impact the community?

We impact the community by providing housing for a desperate population of women who would otherwise be caught in a vicious cycle of poverty and homelessness. We will also engage the surrounding community by asking them to make in-kind donations and volunteer their time teaching workshops and working with the children in our facility. We hope that these volunteer experiences will impact community members by inspiring them to make a lifelong commitment to serve their community.

How do you measure this impact?

We will measure the impact by keeping in contact with the mothers that have graduated our program and monitoring their success in building independent and stable lives for themselves and their children.

We will also accept critical feedback about our program from our residents and our mentors.

Obstacles

We face skepticism as a youth run organization and we have a small team that must raise a very large sum of money to operate effectively.

Sustainability
Financing source
(or how do you expect your initiative will be financed)

We plan to finance our organization through a combination of fundraising events, grantwriting, corporate donations, and individual donations.

Aside from financial sustainability, how do you plan to grow and sustain your project?

We plan to grow our project by expanding the services we can provide and eventually expanding the number of housing units we can provide. We plan to sustain our organization by training our staff to run the organization successfully and emphasizing the importance of passing leadership responsibility into capable hands. Our Board of Director will play a large role in making sure the organization is sustainable.

Finance details

We need to raise $200,000 to operate our residential program in its first year. We currently have $11,000 and a year to raise the rest of the money.

Creative funding

Our current seed money was granted to us as winners of the annual Be A Changemaker Challenge at our university.

Other non finance needs

We need a large group of reliable volunteers and any in-kind donations ranging from food to beds to office supplies.

The Story
Motivation

We are a team of young women who have witnessed the results of teen pregnancy and homelessness in our daily lives. Amanda witnessed mothers struggling to survive and provide for their families while volunteering in Bellevue Hospital. Jessica saw teen mothers, who were ostracized at school and subsequently dropped out while working at an inner city public school. Fiorella was a homeless teen mother who struggled to balance finding shelter for her children while pursuing her education to try and make a better life for her children.

When we met we were all motivated to do something because of the same pressing social issue. We knew we had to create this program and that there was a reason the three of us met.

Awards

We are winners of the 2008 NYU Reynolds/Youth Venture Be A Changemaker Challenge Grand Prize.

Broader context

Our project is not just a student club for social change, it is a massive project. It will be a shelter for teen mothers and their children with a huge budget and a full staff. Our project contributes to the youth lead social change movement because it proves that youth can tackle big projects and make social change just like anyone else in a community.

Ongoing

We hoe to always remain involved with the venture through its board of directors, even though the staff and executive director may change.

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