Tonawanda News

Features

November 17, 2013

New residence in Niagara Falls reaches out to homeless teen moms in Niagara County

Tonawanda News — Some people scoffed when Hillary Clinton said, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

She may have been wrong. In some cases, it takes a whole nation. The evidence: A new residence for homeless teen moms, which opened in October in Niagara Falls, was born through a vibrant service network locally, with funds that came through state and federal channels.

The residence, called The Crib, will be open to pregnant teens and teen moms throughout Niagara County who have no where else to go.

As a result, some teen moms and moms-to-be will have clean rooms, beds, cribs, and all the support they need to make their lives better for themselves and their babies.

“It’s been a dream of ours for years,” said Ken Sass, director of Family & Children’s Services of Niagara. 

The agency also operates the Casey House for homeless teens and it was through their experience with the region’s young people that they realized the deep need for a maternity group home.  

“We would get girls at the Casey House who were about to give birth or who had just given birth and we couldn’t help them,” Sass said. “It was frustrating.”

The agency had been watching for available grants and when a competitive federal grant became available, they received one of 100 awards given. The $180,000 grant was put to work, and within six months, The Crib was opened, Sass said.

“The story of The Crib is the story of a community coming together,” he said.

But, it couldn’t have been done without the help of many, including the Community Missions, which had an empty group home available and leased it to Family & Children’s Services. Help also came from the Niagara County Youth Services Program who provided help with the grant, and from State Sen. George Maziarz, who used his influence to move the stalled application through its first stop in Albany. In addition, the United Way has promised some funding in the coming year, Sass said.

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