Hurricane Ian impacts expansion project for
Our Mother’s Home of Southwest Florida
Our Mother’s Home of Southwest Florida, Inc. seeks community
support after the loss of funding due to the storm
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2022) – Our Mother’s Home of Southwest Florida is a non-profit that provides housing and mentorship to young mothers in the foster care and human trafficking systems with a mission to break the cycle of poverty and abuse that afflicts this often overlooked sector of the population. Since 2000, they have served hundreds of babies and teen mothers ages 11 to 18, but space limitations have prevented them from further assisting their residents as they transition into adulthood from ages 18 to 21.
In January 2022, Our Mother’s Home launched a capital campaign to raise funds for developing a new location. In March, they purchased a building that, once rehabilitated, will increase its footprint from 5000 to 7200 square feet. This new facility will allow the organization to expand its services by developing a transitional living space for girls who have aged out of foster care but aren’t quite ready to live independently while continuing their education and caring for their babies.
With completed construction plans by Studio+ and permits submitted by Ferrer’s Custom Carpentry Services and Remodeling LLC, the renovation was set to begin this month was it not for the direct and indirect impacts of Hurricane Ian. Not only did the storm cause considerable damage to the roof of the new building but also deprived Our Mother’s Home of receiving two significant Lee County funding opportunities they were expecting to help them move the project forward.
The State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Program is funding designed to provide affordable housing for low-income families with special needs. Our Mother’s Home went through the painstaking process of applying, and it was anticipated to be a primary funding source, but Lee County Commissioners were forced to reallocate the money towards hurricane relief efforts just before awarding it as planned.
The Affordable Housing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was perfectly suited to support Our Mother’s Home’s renovation project, but its ranking committee recently decided not to move forward with any of the applications due to the shifting needs brought on by the hurricane. This, in combination with the SHIP funding and their fundraising efforts, would have been more than enough to complete the project by their goal of Summer 2023.
Executive Director of Our Mother’s Home, Alicia Miller commented, “While I am filled with grief for the victims and organizations affected by Hurricane Ian, my heart is broken by the County’s decisions to reallocate and postpone funds that are still so needed to fulfill missions and projects within the community, like our transitional living facility.”
In response, Our Mother’s Home is seeking the community’s support. There are multiple ways that people can get involved; sponsorships are still available for room-naming rights in the new building, and monetary donations of any size will also help fill that forecasted funding gap. However, the agency is also asking local businesses to donate supplies and materials to help cut down some of the construction costs.
“Picture a blank slate that needs to be turned into a functioning home and business,” says Miller, “we need everything from AC units and ductwork, electrical and plumbing, all the way down to light fixtures and hardware.” Businesses interested in donating materials may contact Miller directly at email@example.com.
About Our Mother’s Home
Our Mother’s Home’s mission is to empower young mothers in the foster care and human trafficking systems to break the generational cycle for themselves and their children. Their vision is a world full of independent women who believe in themselves to accomplish their dreams. As a privatized 501(c)3 organization, Our Mother’s Home raises 50-60% of its funding to provide teen moms with a supportive environment to live with their children, learn life skills, and finish their education. Before the launch of Our Mother’s Home in 2000, teenage mothers in foster care were often separated from their child at birth. This unique home is the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida to provide service to break the cycle one teen at a time.