Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
New York, NY –
According to Covenant House, from January to September more than 100 young moms with dozens of kids showed up asking for help, after city officials told them they were too young to access the shelter system.
City Councilman Lewis Fidler held a hearing on the issue recently, and told of an 18-year-old, pregnant with triplets, who was turned away from a Bronx intake center, and told to go to Covenant House in Manhattan.
FIDLER: I can't think of anything less sensitive to that woman's plight. Less sensible, in terms of taking care of her needs than handing her a metro card and sending her on her way and turning her back from a government agency that she came into see.
REPORTER: Homeless Services Commissioner Rob Hess says when moms under 18 show up, social workers try to find them beds at shelters for teens, and if none are available, the young people are housed at other city shelters.
Covenant House has a long-term program for young moms, but it's small, and the organization says it's only able to accept 20 percent of all applicants.