LAKELAND, Fla. -- One More Child and Florida Baptist Children's Homes are expanding their Single Mom's program.

  • Lakeland organization helps single mom find home
  • Jenna Dubose will soon move into newly-renovated home
  • One More Child has helped other single mothers and their children

This week, officials will cut the ribbon for the 11th housing unit dedicate to single moms on the organizations' Lakeland campus.

Jenna Dubose and her three children will be moving in. Dubose said she became homeless when she was studying for her GED and lost her job.

"No one would take me in, even the Salvation Army, nothing like that," she said. "No one would take me in. They didn't have room or anything like that. It was extremely hard. I cried every day. It was really difficult."

Her children's school stepped in, and a staff member suggested she contact Florida Baptist Children's Homes. That was September.

She'll soon move into a newly renovated two-bedroom home, that's completely furnished.

"I'm going to get a lot of good sleep in this bed," DuBose said, looking at the new furniture.

"I know my mom been struggling, asking for some help from God," Dubose's 8-year-old son Ricardo said. "So I know this is a blessing for her."

Dubose said she's now working as a medical assistant and hopes to go back to school to study sociology, so she can be a counselor to teen girls who get pregnant.

The program will require her to pay $60 a month and attend weekly classes where she'll learn parenting skills, how to live a healthy lifestyle, and how to save money to improve her finances. She'll be allowed to stay in the home for a year. The program also provided her food and diapers for her youngest, who is 6 weeks old.

Kristen Hitchcock, the program's executive director, said the need for help for single moms is great.

"We're getting phone calls every single day. Like constantly," Hitchcock said.

Along with providing housing, Hitchcock said the women can also apply for scholarships to continue their education.

The program has been in place since 2016. In 2018 alone, it impacted 118 mothers and their children at its campuses in Lakeland, Jacksonville and Miami. Hitchcock said one of the graduates was able to purchase a home after a year of being in the program.

One More Child plans to add three more housing units to its Lakeland campus by March and add homes in Tampa by 2020.