January 7, 2020
“Maria was 19 years old when she gave birth to her first daughter and brought the new baby from the hospital to a tiny room in a Harlem family shelter.
“It was literally the size of a closet,” she says of the space she shared with her then-boyfriend and their infant. “We couldn’t even fit a bouncing chair.”
She would have preferred to stay at the youth shelter where she lived before giving birth, she says. There, the staff would remind her to zip her coat in the cold, and the organization running the shelter provided group therapy and job training. But she had to move out when she was seven months pregnant because the shelter could not accommodate her, her boyfriend and their child.”