provide shelter

Would you consider opening your guest room or vacant mother-in-law apartment to an expectant young mother-to-be, or a 16- to 22-year-old mom temporarily needing a safe, secure place to live and care for her child?

Arizona Youth Partnership does so much great work across our state, offering parenting classes and resources — this year staff secured an innovative and compassionate grant to arrange maternity host homes for pregnant and parenting Rim Country moms who are homeless, nearly homeless, or need a safe place.

Tawnee Johnson is the case manager and health educator for the youth and host families in Payson and Rim Country regions of Gila County. She explains, “We have been building toward this, and our goal is to help arrange temporary housing for one pregnant or parenting youth and their child at a time. Payson residents truly showed their compassion last year by coming together to open the wintertime warming center to shelter homeless adults, and I’m confident we’ll find just the right person to open their hearts and their home to help a young woman provide a safe, secure start for her baby.

“Our goal is to help arrange housing for the parent and child, offer education and case management services, and prepare the young parent to transition on her own as a successful and independent adult. And who knows? These host home arrangements could also result in enriching life-long friendships, too.”

To learn more about hosting, or to refer a young mom who needs that service, please call Tawnee at 928-224-8451 or email Tawnee@azyp.org

Host families receive a stipend to help pay for living expenses. Johnson and other Arizona Youth Partnership case managers support and provide resources and guidance to the mom-to-be or young parent.

Arizona Youth Partnership was one of 17 organizations funded nationally this year. The innovative statewide Starting Out Right for Homeless Parenting Youth Program is funded by the Administration for Children and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau.

“If you have a spare room, and also can spare your compassion, providing a safe and stable home for a pregnant or parenting youth is a way you can make such a difference for a vulnerable population,” said Johnson.

“Host families receive a stipend for housing the parenting youth and their child and I’ll be there with you, as case manager it’s my job to support the relationship between the host family and the pregnant or parenting youth — helping provide education for a healthy pregnancy, parenting classes and financial literacy, education and career coaching, and assistance finding resources and support through programs such as WIC, SNAP, and TANF that help pay for food and health care, even daily needs such as diapers and car seats,” she added.

Since 1990 Arizona Youth Partnership has provided a range of prevention and community-building resources to help youth grow up to be healthy, self-sufficient adults. AZYP offers a continuum of care for youth and families to prevent risky behavior and to add services to intervene and help youth and families out of crisis. AZYP’s wide range of programming assists youth of all ages in school-based, after-school and shelter settings. AZYP also helps the communities it serves to identify and solve key youth problems through community coalitions. Programming includes how to build healthy relationships, strengthen families and avoid substance abuse. The overriding goal of AZYP services is to help youth prevent risky behavior and grow up to be healthy, self-sufficient adults. Go to www.azyp.org for more information.

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