Nonprofit housing program helps struggling moms regain custody of their children
By Martha Neil
Jun 25, 2013, 04:45 pm CDT
A nonprofit housing program being operated on a shoestring budget in Las Vegas is helping struggling moms regain custody of their children and could be a model for similar efforts elsewhere.
For only $300 a month, which can be covered out of welfare benefits, women who often have just been released from prison get a safe, drug-free place to live in a shared home; food; and help developing an individual case plan that can persuade the court that they are making progress toward key goals, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
It’s All About Kidz also offers mothers a place to host their children and cook a meal during visits, if they don’t have custody, and can include children as residents if the women do have custody. Presently, there are eight women and six children living in the program’s five-bedroom home in southwest Las Vegas.
Founder Marina Rit-Bloom says the program has helped about 15 women regain custody of their children over the two years that it has existed.
One of the first residents was Courtney Shea. At 39, she has a custody of both a 17-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son. When she arrived in 2011 she had custody only of her daughter and a history of alcohol and drug problems. Now she is living with both children in a house of their own.
“I feel very blessed,” Shea told the newspaper. “I absolutely believe in this program, and I wish that there was more funding. I owe everything to this program.”