God’s Love unit helps families in transition

2011-12-26T00:00:00Z God’s Love unit helps families in transitionBy ANGELA BRANDT Independent Record Helena Independent Record
December 26, 2011 12:00 am  • 

Alora Mason was alone, homeless and pregnant, feeling like she had no options.

Bouncing from one family member’s house to another was not working anymore, especially with a little one on the way.

Now, at the God’s Love family transitional unit, Mason and her 3-week-old daughter, Olivia, have ample support from those at the center along with the rest of the Helena community.

“Everyone who lives up here, we’re all friends like a little family,” Mason said, cradling her cooing daughter.

“I have my own little family now,” she added.

For Christmas, Mason and her baby were adopted by a local business, which lavished them with clothing and other gifts. This is typical during the holiday season, according to Joe Wojton, co-manager of God’s Love.

“The Helena community really cares for the kids as well as the parents,” he said.

“This time of year can be really depressing for those in this kind of setting,” Wojton added.

Mason, a 22-year-old woman with a kind, freckled face, moved from Sidney to Helena in the summer in order to join the God’s Love program. Like many others, she knew of the men’s shelter but was not aware of the family unit until informed by a friend. She officially moved in July 10 — her birthday.

In the last six months, Mason has flourished, according to Wojton. Mason is currently supporting herself with the help of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program and is searching for a job.

“Now, I’m not going back to bouncing from family to family — it’s just too stressful,” Mason said.

The God’s Love family program lasts from six months up to two years, depending on the individual’s needs. The goal is for participants to be able to maintain permanent housing.

“So, they don’t need us ever again,” Wojton added.

Currently the unit houses 12 people — six adults and six children. The facility, which is upstairs from the men’s shelter, can hold up to 40 at a time. This is the first time in many years that the unit has had empty rooms during the holidays, Wojton said.

The transitional unit, which offers nine rooms, opened in 1999 and is supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Recently, the unit was chosen to receive a $143,305 grant from HUD’s Continuum of Care program. The county generally matches the federal funds with $50,000.

Rooms are open to families, single fathers and mothers and single women. Generally, residents are referred by schools, local assistance agencies and other programs for the homeless.

Wojton said the unit is busiest in August when it’s back to school time. Many families can camp during the summer but then need shelter for the upcoming school year and the harsh winter that follows.

The facility is staffed 24-hours-a-day. Prerequisites for residents include passing a drug screen and going through an application process and interview. Those staying at the family unit pay 30 percent of their wages or other earnings as rent.

Some residents need help with financial issues while others face addiction problems. A case manager works with the families to aid in achieving their goals. Those in the program must adhere to rules, including a curfew.

Mason said she has no problems following the restrictions.

“I’d probably be in two hours before curfew anyway,” she said, gazing down at her newborn. eporter Angela Brandt: 447-4078 or angela.brandt@helenair.com


Copyright 2016 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(30) Comments

  1. dietz1963
    Report Abuse
    dietz1963 - December 29, 2011 1:23 pm
    This story was really about how this shelter helps people. I don't see anywhere in the article that details how this young lady came into this situation, could be a number of reasons but why would that be relevant? Shelters like this are a temporary. I know for one thing, very few women go looking to get pregnant and quite frankly BOTH parties are responsible if it happens.

    Meanwhile, there are several much older people with college degrees raking in welfare because they get more money from welfare then if they actually go back to work.
  2. Bojangles
    Report Abuse
    Bojangles - December 29, 2011 7:38 am
    You know - the crowd that is condemning this woman for having a child, would be the first to stone her if she aborted it.

    Please do us all a favor and move back to the Afghani cave from where you came.

    I'm sure you are all 'Christians' as well - Who else would judge people so righteously than someone claiming to be religious.

    ... and a family is whatever one chooses it to be - who are any of you to say?!
  3. Buddahsmash
    Report Abuse
    Buddahsmash - December 29, 2011 7:28 am
    farside said: Having a child and scraping by on NOTHING! Just another young (single) mom on food stamps/etc at wallmart coming soon!"

    You know the saddest difference between you and any type of person in her situation? They are all around better people than you. Hard times happen to everyone. Some are able to overcome and some need to climb a longer ladder. So you think to yourself, you don't know me. You're right, like I don't know you, you don't know her either. So keep your rude comments to yourself. It's easy to act tough and judgmental when you're hidden behind a computer, tell that to the face of somebody in this situation.



  4. Buddahsmash
    Report Abuse
    Buddahsmash - December 29, 2011 7:21 am
    Some of you are an embarrassment to the Helena community and the great state of Montana in which we live. Some of you may be able to relate to those that have fallen on hard times and others have absolutely no clue what it could be like to bounce off rock bottom and have to resort to the help of such great programs like the F.T.C at Gods Love. Maybe TANF doesn't LITERALLY provide Alora the opportunity to support herself but as one of the F.T.C staff members I can assure you she is doing a great job with her newborn along with her other obligations that go with our program. Maybe instead of yelling degrading comments from the corner while you are waiting for a red light to change (which does happen by the fine citizens of Helena) you instead could rifle through your old belongings and stop by Gods Love to donate to the less fortunate. Trust me when I say this, even the smallest gesture is appreciate by our residents.
  5. hiddenmuggle
    Report Abuse
    hiddenmuggle - December 28, 2011 9:28 pm
    Okay farside, I think most of us get your point that it's a pretty $#*%%€ economic world to be born into, but what exactly do you intend us readers to do about this right this instance? Put her baby in state foster care, court mandate her to get her tubes tied and not let her have a place to sleep until she has a regular full time job all the while publicly shaming her? This article exemplifies what some people call 'making the best of a situation.' we can't magically fix the issue of unemployed single pregnant women before 2013 (unless the apocalypse finally arrives) but we can do our best as a community and as a society to work on a future solution. Sorry farside, instant gratification isn't in your cards tonight. Maybe instead of trolling Wikipedia you could help society in your quest to quell poorly timed pregnancies by volunteering to help educate children and teens about safe and responsible sex.
  6. Riamh
    Report Abuse
    Riamh - December 28, 2011 8:23 pm
    dietz1963 said: "Riamh, you have to admit there were some good things back in the 50s. Obviously segregation was not one of them. But it was a slower time and I think there were probably more people working. Look at how far automation has gotten, so much so that there are more machines working then people and yet for all this automation and speed, things cost way more now then they did when things were made by hand. More products were produced by U.S. then now, just about everything I buy seems to come from china (and yea, I look for U.S. products). I heard stories of going to a gas station and never having to leave your car, bunch of folks did the service for you. Now, we just put a card in the pump paying far more for gas then back when there were lots of people working at the gas station. I also think there was more respect back then as opposed to now. It was before my time of course, but even in my time I can't imagine as a kid saying to an adult what some of these kids do now. I know swearing was met with huge consequences, heck I've seen kids as young as 8 with real foul mouths."

    Yes, I admit, there was a good side to the 50s, Dietz, Here in Montana we enjoyed that easygoing slowness up into the 1970s. I miss the simpler times sometimes too. I agree, much of our society has become dehumanized by technology, and self-serve attitude. The good ol' days of genuine human service seems to be nearly gone. Locally here, I do believe we still have a full service gas station, and at least one grocery store that helps you out with your groceries.

    On the other hand, as you pointed out, in the 1950s segregation, Racism, prejudice, and bigotry were rampant.

    I agree, that many kids today don't have the same respect towards their elders as older generations once did. Some do, though! Just when I've made up my mind kids today are incorrigible, they pop up and redeem themselves.

    Regarding the photo with this article; personally, I saw nothing wrong with the picture of the young mother and her adorable child. I understand a little modesty, but I saw nothing immodest about the picture, seems in that respect, steeline's stuck in the 1890s.
  7. orpington
    Report Abuse
    orpington - December 28, 2011 6:01 pm
    The discussion on this thread is pretty base and unpleasant.

    However, as a lifelong liberal of the bleeding heart variety, I do have to ask where is the suppport from her family, where is the young man who inpregnated a 21 year old woman, who paid for the medical care to bring the baby into the world and who is encouraging young women to bear children when they have no means of supporting themselves or their kids.

    Clotting factor gets in the way of my bleeding heart here. I would never want to penalize the child who is born to a young woman with no means of support but at some point we have to make sure that sex education gets to point out the whole life consequences of these young women giving birth to children who they cannot support. And the boys who blithely impregnate the girls have to be held accountable.

    I am a wholesale believer in the welfare state to take care of those who are less fortunate than those of us who can earn a living, but this is getting out of control. I know of so many situations where these young women are bearing children and assuming that they will be taken care of. TANF, CHIP, SNAP and all the charitable organizations that pick up the pieces. Not to mention Medicaid, which is required to pay for the care of the babies, many of which are born prematurely due to the young age of the mothers - go ask the nurses at the NICU around the state.

    I hope this young woman gets all the help she can, but I also wish the kids would think before they decide to get pregnant, which seems to be the trendy thing to do these days. And maybe their parents could provide some positive parenting skills to avoid their offspring becoming parents before their time.
  8. farside
    Report Abuse
    farside - December 28, 2011 5:58 pm
    So let's see here, we want to split hairs on specifics instead of looking at the bigger picture of the situation. I am not really surprised at the splitting mostly due that no one wants to really talk about the bigger picture that I bring up- that is as someone noted,,, hope she finds a job!??? Really, and what kind of job around here is going to produce the funds necessary for now and the future,, given she has a clock working against her to get a living. What will she need to earn to support her and the baby? Come on people, add it up- would love to know if the $10/hour (if possible) will meet the goal. NO??? What a surprise! It isn't going to happen around here for sure unless you seem to know something more impressive here. So add it up, rent, food, health, gas, transportation,etc,etc. This is not a "cute" thing- it is serious- if you think donations from the start is a "cute" way of starting a child's life, then you are really supporting the problem- which in no ways,,, surprises me here. Having a child and scraping by on NOTHING! Just another young (single) mom on food stamps/etc at wallmart coming soon!
  9. Independent
    Report Abuse
    Independent - December 28, 2011 4:56 pm
    Riamh, poor people are allowed to have children. They should not expect any help that is not voluntary. Kids seem to increase some peoples sense of entitlement to all the same advantages people that can afford kids have. The pictures associated with this story are fine. If anyone sees anything “dirty” it’s where their mind already is.
  10. KSinMT
    Report Abuse
    KSinMT - December 28, 2011 3:22 pm
    Farside,
    From wikipedia link you posted:
    In human context, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence
    In science, the term "family" has come to be used as a means to classify groups of objects as being closely and exclusively related

    Definition of a group from Merriam Webster:
    : two or more figures forming a complete unit in a composition

    Farside could you please clarify further exactly WHY you think this young lady and her baby are NOT a family. Thanks!
  11. hiddenmuggle
    Report Abuse
    hiddenmuggle - December 28, 2011 3:12 pm
    'want to argue with Wikipedia?'
    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!who DOESN'T want to argue with Wikipedia?!?!?!
    Them there be some swell good reactive searching skills farside!!! I can't wait for your Published thesis to show up in college courses....
  12. dietz1963
    Report Abuse
    dietz1963 - December 28, 2011 3:01 pm
    Riamh, you have to admit there were some good things back in the 50s. Obviously segregation was not one of them. But it was a slower time and I think there were probably more people working. Look at how far automation has gotten, so much so that there are more machines working then people and yet for all this automation and speed, things cost way more now then they did when things were made by hand. More products were produced by U.S. then now, just about everything I buy seems to come from china (and yea, I look for U.S. products). I heard stories of going to a gas station and never having to leave your car, bunch of folks did the service for you. Now, we just put a card in the pump paying far more for gas then back when there were lots of people working at the gas station. I also think there was more respect back then as opposed to now. It was before my time of course, but even in my time I can't imagine as a kid saying to an adult what some of these kids do now. I know swearing was met with huge consequences, heck I've seen kids as young as 8 with real foul mouths.
  13. KSinMT
    Report Abuse
    KSinMT - December 28, 2011 2:27 pm
    I had to go back and look at the pictures and studied them very carefully and fail to see anything indecent about what the young woman is wearing so I'm confused steeline? If you actually looked at the pictures you would see she is wearing a shirt, that is NOT her bra. From reading all your comments steeline I think you just like to look for something to complain about restoring america (insert eye roll here). Hopefully this young lady will eventually be able to find a good job and stand on her own 2 feet to support herself and her new baby. No matter what the circumstances are I don't think it is anyone's right to judge her and make harsh comments.
  14. farside
    Report Abuse
    farside - December 28, 2011 1:56 pm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family Hopefully can show some level of comprehension here..... another "unit" feeding off the system for sure, for years to come.
    Want to argue with wikipedia? and thanks for the sarcastic gratitude!
  15. Riamh
    Report Abuse
    Riamh - December 28, 2011 1:32 pm
    farside said: "Well as much as I have great appreciation for the centers and their work to support "families"- things can change, life can get hard, people do need some help here and there,,,this is NOT a family."

    Really? What qualifies you to judge what constitutes a family and what doesn't? Seems to me the word "Family" can be awfully subjective, and can include a WIDE array of relationships.

    farside said: "I grow tired of reading about these young women that have no business having children, and should focus on keeping their leg's crossed!"

    Wow, Judgemental much? What makes you think they all end up that way by choice? How many of you have conceived children in SPITE of using birth control? Did you consider that not all young women "uncrossed" their legs by their own choice? I know a woman who has a child that was the product of a date rape. She didn't ask for it, but like many, she didn't believe in abortion.


    farside said: "Without taking proper precautions in planned parenthood, the numbers here are just staggering, like the 30% drop-out rate from school. This is not an area that is covered by other efforts( plenty of planned parent support available) and the fact that you can just get pregnant, does not mean you are qualified to be a parent."

    This much, I agree with.

    farside said: "You made a choice and a very bad one here to bring a child into this world with no true financial or family values in place."

    That statement makes you sound like one of the oldsters around here that don't believe poor people should be allowed to have children.
  16. Riamh
    Report Abuse
    Riamh - December 28, 2011 1:14 pm
    steeline said: "My point was well proven by some posts. Some don't get it. We have to restore the moral fibers of America."

    Steeline, you should really just build yourself a time machine so you can go rot back in the 1950s. You need to face the fact, that the world has moved on since then. Instead of crying about how we need to return to a time of repression, why don't you accept the world as it is today? In any case, your silly slogans only serve to make you look cliche.

    We need get America right by sending steeline back to the 1950s!
  17. Curmudgeon
    Report Abuse
    Curmudgeon - December 28, 2011 10:16 am
    FARSIDE, I'm sure the young mother would be overwhelmed with gratitude for your stern lecture...you're all heart.

    You say the young mother and her precious child are "NOT" a family. Just out of curiosity, who appointed you the judge of what is or is not a family?
  18. Curmudgeon
    Report Abuse
    Curmudgeon - December 28, 2011 10:09 am
    steeline said: "...my comment was on the disrespectful photo of the young mother. It violated her modesty. Do I have to get graffic (SIC). Anyway what does a "cocoon" have to do with it. Geez. We have to restore common decientcy (SIC) in America."

    "Disrespectful"? "Violated"? IMNSHO, the photo was beautiful, moving, touching. I presume your problem is that part of her bra is showing --- she either just finished or was about to start nursing that precious child.

    Are you one of those sad anal retentives who believe a mother feeding her child is not "decient"? That feeding a baby, with the natural equipment God has provided, is a "violation"? If so, I'm sorry for you.

    Some of the old Dutch masters painted pictures of Mary nursing the Christ Child. I'm sure you would find them indecent and a violation, too.

    PS: We have to restore literate spelling in America.
  19. farside
    Report Abuse
    farside - December 27, 2011 7:33 pm
    Well as much as I have great appreciation for the centers and their work to support "families"- things can change, life can get hard, people do need some help here and there,,,this is NOT a family. I grow tired of reading about these young women that have no business having children, and should focus on keeping their leg's crossed!
    Without taking proper precautions in planned parenthood, the numbers here are just staggering, like the 30% drop-out rate from school. This is not an area that is covered by other efforts( plenty of planned parent support available) and the fact that you can just get pregnant, does not mean you are qualified to be a parent. This is just not the way to come into this world- in our country- let me make this perfectly clear! You made a choice and a very bad one here to bring a child into this world with no true financial or family values in place. Go ahead, take a shot at me but if you think this is right...... well then I do consider you part of the problem too, to even support it. There is NO excuse for this!
  20. hiddenmuggle
    Report Abuse
    hiddenmuggle - December 27, 2011 6:55 pm
    Steeline you keep farting out this crap about restoring America and its morals and decency, yet in the several months that you've moved away from your 'purple' moniker you have yet to once say what those long lost values were or what majority from what era explicitly shoved those values into our undying collective unconscious. Please, enlighten us and don't skip the bibliography.
  21. steeline
    Report Abuse
    steeline - December 27, 2011 5:03 pm
    My point was well proven by some posts. Some don't get it. We have to restore the moral fibers of America.
  22. Longinus
    Report Abuse
    Longinus - December 27, 2011 9:21 am
    Personally I think it is a Great picture. If she were my daughter & grand child I would be extremely proud. Than again, if it were my daughter & grand child they would never be in a shelter.
  23. fivemsandme
    Report Abuse
    fivemsandme - December 26, 2011 6:37 pm
    Steeline, I think you better go take another look at all the pictures before you comment! She clearly has a shirt on that has lace on it! So your comment is out of line!
  24. Outlaw
    Report Abuse
    Outlaw - December 26, 2011 5:48 pm
    Ya, steeline, maybe she is auditioning for one of those porn sites we all hear of.
  25. steeline
    Report Abuse
    steeline - December 26, 2011 5:22 pm
    wopp64 I don't doubt that the young lady is a proud mother. If you READ my post my comment was on the disrespectful photo of the young mother. It violated her modesty. Do I have to get graffic. Anyway what does a "cocoon" have to do with it. Geez. We have to restore common decientcy in America.
  26. wopp64
    Report Abuse
    wopp64 - December 26, 2011 12:39 pm
    Steeline !! you need to go back to your cocoon..She looks like a very happy and proud new mother, try to find some compassion for this girl, oh and some respect too..unreal person you are
  27. Motorchild
    Report Abuse
    Motorchild - December 26, 2011 11:30 am
    Where's that good-for-nothing bum who got her pregnant then abandoned her?
  28. RationalThought
    Report Abuse
    RationalThought - December 26, 2011 10:33 am
    First of all, this is a great program and I wish there were more like it. However, receiving TANF is not supporting yourself. Please don't give us nor the residents that message.
  29. steeline
    Report Abuse
    steeline - December 26, 2011 9:20 am
    It is a picture of a beautiful baby, but the picture shows no respect for the mothers modesty. We have to restore decentcy in America.
  30. shawnwhitewolf
    Report Abuse
    shawnwhitewolf - December 26, 2011 4:50 am
    yay Alora. That is a wonderful story. And such a beautiful baby. I'm happy for you!

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

    2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

    3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

    4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

    5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at editor@helenair.com. This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

    6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

    7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

    8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

    9. Don't write a novel. If your comment is longer than the article you're commenting on, you might want to cut it down a bit. Lengthy comments will likely be removed.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick