MCKINNEY A McKinney nonprofit is battling poverty by helping single mothers, one of groups most susceptible to economic turmoil in the country.

In Collin County, almost two thirds of single moms live below the poverty level, according to U.S. Census Figures. One in five does not have a high school education. One couple wanted to help, and made their dream come true.

Misty, who asked that her last name not be published, is a single mother with a three-year-old son named Jacob. When times got tough, she put her plans to finish college on hold. That changed when she moved into Shiloh Place.

"I've just not been able to, because having kids, it's difficult," said Misty. "So now, I'm ready to go back to school and I start next week."

Joyce is raising her two-year-old grandson. She also found a new home at Shiloh Place.

"Me being a grandmother at 48, starting over again, raising my grandson, you do what you have to do to get the job done," she said.

At Shiloh Place, single mothers like Joyce and Misty, who have kids 10 and younger, get the help they need. The non-profit Christian ministry offers affordable rent and helps them go back to college.

Their goal is to become self sufficient without government assistance.

"Single parents, really are the poorest of the poor in America," said Kelly Burgess, who started the ministry. "So this is the group we decided we really wanted to help."

Burgess and her husband, Bob, bought three adjacent houses in McKinney's historic district. "So many people are left with just minimum paying jobs," said Burgess. "And that is not enough to live on."

Three Allen fire fighters, including Richard Vaughn, volunteered their time throughout the last year to renovate the homes.

"They need a chance to get on their feet and to go to school and get an education and be out there and support themselves and not have to worry about a handout," said Vaughn.

In the Old Testament, Shiloh was a place of refuge. The single moms at Shiloh Place say that's exactly what they need to have hope for the future.


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