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New housing supports teen mothers in Kent County

Lisa Anderson

Grand Rapids teen moms have a new place to call home. Non-profit Grace’s Table opened a newly renovated house supporting young mothers and their families

“Brown bear, brown bear what did you see?”

A basket of books is the first thing Shaetiaunna Green’s toddlers head for at Grace’s Table, a non-profit program to support teen mothers.

“Did you read books? (baby talk) The Brown Bear Book?”

She had just turned 19 when she started coming to Grace’s Table with her then three-year-old, trying to navigate motherhood on her own.

“Even at 19 I’m still not fully developed. I’m still in my era of making mistakes and figuring out me, and I have to do this with a child alongside me who’s depending on me to get through things.”

Grace’s Table is a program for mothers ages 13-24, pregnant or parenting. For 10 years, its offered weekly open houses with Bible study, meals, childcare, mentoring, and access to mental health care. Executive Director Lisa Anderson:

“The number one reason moms come here is they feel lonely and disconnected and there’s a community here that’s welcoming them as they are and seeing them as a whole person.”

The second reason is: they are struggling to find stable housing.

“Over 80% of our moms in the last two years have struggled with housing insecurity.”

And now Grace’s Table offers that too, opening a renovated home at 835 Richmond St. NW in Grand Rapids, converting the space into affordable housing with a community room for workshops and classes as well as a childcare area.

“I’m not expected to be a perfect mother. It’s understood I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to be learning as I go.”

There is more information on the Grace's Table website at https://www.gracestable.com/

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