Jeremiah Program and its partner, Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation (GNDC), welcomed families into newly constructed duplexes in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, September 19, 2013. Four young women from Jeremiah Program and their children will live in half of the duplexes, with GNDC residents occupying the other four. This is phase 1 of the project for Jeremiah Program. The duplexes are located in Guadalupe-Saldaña Net-Zero Subdivision, a former unregistered dumpsite and brownfield in East Austin.
The four young women moving into the duplexes have already begun Life Skills training with Jeremiah Program this past summer. Their children will be enrolled in high-quality early childhood education at Open Door Preschool. The young women will continue weekly Life Skills classes as well as complete personal empowerment training in early 2014. Jeremiah’s educational partner is Austin Community College, where young women are pursuing career-track post-secondary education.
Austin has one of the fastest-growing populations of homeless mothers in the nation, with 15,000 single-parent homes with more than 56,000 children living in poverty. “The numbers may seem staggering, but we know this: together it is indeed possible to change young women’s lives for their children’s futures,” says Shannon Moody, Jeremiah’s executive director in Austin. “It takes determination and collaboration. We are so grateful for the partners who have made this first phase possible.”
Construction of the main Jeremiah campus building, phase 2, will begin in late 2014, with families moving in toward the end of 2015. At 47,000 square feet, the Jeremiah Program campus building will include 35 two-bedroom apartments, ample communal space, support staff offices, and an accredited child development center designed to serve 55-60 children.