December 15, 2020
For Immediate Release

 

Local business gives aid to foster youth in agency care
 

Buffalo, NY --  Homespace Corporation Executive Director Kim Morris announced a new way to help youth living in a growing segment of the Child Welfare System. “Foster care kids don’t have a family to lean on in a pinch,” Morris said. “Until now, our agency lacked readily available funds to help a client handle random personal setbacks, the kind that can snowball and derail the best-laid plans for an independent life.” A local consulting firm donated money to establish the Homespace Elevate Fund.

A flat tire or broken laptop is enough to derail anyone on a shoestring budget. Consider what happened to 17-year-old Alyssa, a teenage mother with a toddler of her own. The family of two lives in the agency-operated Second Chance Home on Michigan Avenue in Buffalo. Alyssa strives to be among the 2021 graduating class of South Park High School in Buffalo. Her dedication to school and career is a driving force in her life because, like most mothers, she wants to provide the best for her daughter.

A local nursing home offered Alyssa employment as a part-time dietary aide. She felt proud to take a step toward self-sufficiency, but as her first day on the job grew near, she realized there were thorny details to work out. As a kitchen worker, she must wear uniform scrubs and nonstick shoes, meaning the job opportunity required an up-front investment of $60 to $140 depending on whether Alyssa can purchase scrubs at a second-hand shop. While this may not seem like much, contrasted to the family’s monthly cash allowance of $80, it becomes a significant roadblock. Erie County provides a monthly Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) of $80 for clothing, diapers, wipes, and cell phone service.

Like hundreds of at-risk kids before her, Alyssa will transition from childhood to adulthood in the care of Homespace, a voluntary foster care agency (VFCA). “Children do not arrive at our doorstep with a piggy bank in tow,” Morris said. “They come to us with deficiency needs for shelter, security, and trauma-informed care.” Agency funds are earmarked mainly for conventional disbursements, e.g., facility upgrades, utilities, and meals. A micro-funding source could effectively take kids like Alyssa to the next level of independence. It could take her from unemployed to employed by allowing her to start a new job without the financial hardship of up-front expenses.

That’s where the Elevate Fund comes in. The not-for-profit Homespace Corporation received a $12,500 grant from NuLevel Strategies, LLC. The Buffalo-based firm uses a multidisciplinary approach to co-create next-level outcomes for its clients, most of which – like Homespace - are mission-driven organizations. Co-Founder David J. Kraus, CPA, says, “Working together, we can ensure our youth the opportunity to reach new levels, against all odds.” In the spirit of offering a helping hand, individuals and businesses can sustain the Elevate Fund and help more young people for many years to come. 

Inspired by life’s little setbacks, cash from the Elevate Fund will be dispersed by agency management on a case-by-case basis as unforeseen circumstances arise and threaten to throw a wrench in the path toward independence. Individuals and businesses can make contributions online at https://www.homespacecorp.org/how-to-help or by mail to:
Homespace Corporation
135 Delaware Avenue
Suite 210
Buffalo, NY 14202

*Checks should be made payable to Homespace Corp; on the check memo, write ‘Elevate Fund.’  

Homespace is an independent New York State registered 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation. To learn more, please email Kim Morris, executive director, at [email protected]

 

 

Mission: Homespace supports at-risk young women to achieve independence two generations at a time.

 

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