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Home For Homeless, Pregnant Teens To Open In Gaston County

A Gaston County group that serves at-risk teens is now expanding with a new home that will serve pregnant teenagers who are homeless. Pregnant teens that can't rely on their parents for help or are fleeing abusive homes often show up in temporary shelters geared to single women. When they have their baby, they can move to a family shelter. But space there can be hard to come by and it's still temporary, normally just a couple months. The new maternity home run by the non-profit With Friends Inc. will allow pregnant teens to stay two years. "It gives them the amount of time they would need to work on their life's issues and also go out into the community and be successful," says the group's director Carolina Loomey. The North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness says it's not aware of a similar facility in the state. The home will teach parenting skills, counsel residents, help them get GEDs and secure work and childcare. The facility will have room for six young women and up to nine babies, but the programs will also serve teen mothers who don't stay there. According to the Gaston County Health Department, one in four girls in Gaston County become pregnant before they turn twenty. Loomey expects the home will be full as soon as it opens in January.

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