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Group looks at bringing single-parent families program to Longview

By Richard Yeakley
Feb. 5, 2014 at 10 p.m.

Buckner International is looking at bringing a housing program for single-parent families to Longview.

The Buckner Family Transition Program, already operating in seven Texas cities, offers reduced housing and child care for single parents as they work in academic or vocational programs to improve their quality of life.

"We are considering Longview," said Scott Collins, the vice president of the communications for Buckner International.

Collins said specific details, such as location, size and cost of operating the program, have not been decided.

The program is designed to help single parents by looking after children, providing the families with a safe place to live and letting the parent increase his or her education. The program is offered in Amarillo, Conroe, Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, Lufkin and Midland

"It is a great program ... because it keeps the children with the mom and allows the mom to move on in her life. Education is the key," Collins said.

According to information on Buckner International's website, the programs are housed in small complexes.

For instance, Midland's program operates with 16 units.

"The program varies depending on where it is; so, we adapt it for the market. In Lufkin for example, we have apartments where moms live with their children; we have an onsite day care. The mom gets to go to college and get a degree while the children are cared for and they have a safe place to live," Collins said.

"In other places, like the one we have in Amarillo, there is no day care onsite. We help the mom provide day care services."

He added the same is true for buildings. In some towns, Buckner has purchased apartments, while in others the group built from the ground up.

"It's become a real cornerstone program for Buckner," Collins said.

In Longview, Buckner offers Buckner Westminster Place, a retirement community, and Buckner Children and Family Services, which helps with foster care and adoption, community programs, counseling services and crisis relief.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, in Texas, 34 percent of young children whose parents lack a college education live in poverty.

JoAnn Cole, senior director of campus and family ministries for Buckner Children and Family Services, said in an online post that breaking that cycle is the reason for the program.

"Our hope is that by bearing some of the burdens that make life incredibly difficult for single parents, and by facilitating parents' education and training, the family can then move forward to escape the cycle of poverty and live independently," she said.



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