Northern Home announces new name, breaks ground on housing for mothers and children

On Monday, city officials and major donors broke ground at the Northern Children’s Services in Roxborough, inaugurating two construction projects that will soon be underway.

Many Philadelphians are familiar with NCS as the Northern Home for Children. This week, a name change was announced for the venerable institution, which has provided a safety net for children and families facing extraordinary challenges since 1853, according to NCS website.

Aiming to double the number of teenage mothers and babies served, new permanent housing is being built on NCS’s campus that will provide shelter to homeless teenage mothers. In addition, renovations will be performed on Merrick Hall – the oldest building on the six-acre campus – to serve an expanded “Generations Program,” serving teenage mothers and their young children.

If successful, a statement from NCS said the campaign will allow Northern Home to double the number of mothers and babies it serves in its Generations Programs, including service to pregnant teens.

Wawa Inc. provided the lead contribution of $430,000 for the NCS Capital Campaign, which has raised approximately $3.6 million to date. With the initiation of the public aspect of the fundraising campaign yesterday, Maureen Kline, director of development at NCS, said that they hope to raise an additional $1 million through individuals, corporations, and foundations.

“This project is an exciting turning point in the history of our agency,” said Tracey Lavallias, NCS’s president and CEO. Lavallias explained that the enhancements will allow NCS to expand their support of young women post-pregnancy as they raise their young children, as well as providing permanent housing for the entire family.

Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. was present at the groundbreaking. He congratulated the staff of NCS for their ongoing efforts.

“With the groundbreaking of the Merrick building, NCS takes another step forward in leading the way in providing critical social services,” he said. “The expansion of the Generations Program will allow more young women and their children to have temporary and permanent housing and begin their road to self-sufficiency.”

While fundraising continues, the renovations are slated to begin this fall. Construction is projected to take approximately one year, with an expectation of occupancy by spring 2014.

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