Assisting Young Mothers
There is no greater indicator of life-long poverty than to be a single, teenage mother. Our Assisting Young Mothers Program helps to break that cycle by providing housing, counseling and training to homeless young women, age 16 to 24, who are pregnant or have young children. With an emphasis on parenting, education, job readiness and self-sufficiency, our AYM graduates are able to support themselves and their children when they leave the program.
We do this in several ways:
"Jennifer" was one of our AYM moms who made big changes in her life.
Homeless pregnant and parenting young women between the ages of 18 and 21 live independently in townhomes for up to 18 months and receive comprehensive services and support to help them on their road to independence.
Women in AYM I work or go to school at least 30 hours a week and 45% of their earnings are placed into savings or applied to debt reduction. They also attend weekly life skills groups, parenting groups, and case management sessions.
All basic living costs are covered in AYM I and assistance is provided in locating transportation and child care.
In 2010, 11 young women and their children were part of our AYM I program. All of them progressed in being able to support themselves and their children in the community, and all of them increased their ability to be nurturing parents.
Young mothers who are further on the road to independence but still need some assistance may join AYM II. Some of the young women in AYM II are graduates of AYM I; others join the program from the community. Last year three young women and their children participated in AYM II.
This program, made possible through a partnership with Christian Relief Services (CRS), allows the young mother to live in her own apartment with her child. She pays 30% of her adjusted net income in rent to CRS and is encouraged to continue her savings plan.
Alternative House staff continue to provide support and assistance to help the young mother progress towards full self-sufficiency. These mothers may stay in their apartment for up to two years.
Homeless young parents age 16-21 years old and their children can receive free counseling and support from the AYM program. Help with budgeting, participation in life skills, parenting, nutrition and employment groups as well as individual counseling are available.
Fairfax, VA 22031