NEW YORK CITY — A Girl Scout troop for homeless children that got its start at a Long Island City shelter will get more than $1 million to expand to 14 other homeless shelter sites across the city, officials announced Wednesday.
The Department of Homeless Services and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will fund the grant — $375,000 a year over the next three years — to expand Girl Scout Troop 6000, which was formed in March to serve girls living in a shelter based at the Sleep Inn Hotel in Queens.
Though the exact locations haven't been determined yet, the funding will allow the troop to expand to 14 other city shelters starting this October, serving an additional 500 girls and women in its first year.
The troop will meet weekly at the designated shelter sites and will be run by trained troop leaders who also live in the shelter system, according to an announcement from DHS.
The city funding will be used to cover membership fees and dues, as well as the children's uniforms, pins, workbooks and other necessities, officials said.
"I have fond memories of the lessons and teachings that the Girl Scouts provided me as a young child," Herminia Palacio, the city's deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, said in a statement. "With this new grant, we will be able to reach even more young people and help them cope with the everyday challenges homelessness brings."
About a third of the city's shelter residents are kids under the age of 17, officials said.
Girl Scout Troop 6000 was formed in March through a partnership between DHS and the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and it currently counts at least two-dozen members, a DHS spokeswoman said.
The troop, which marks the first in the nation to specifically serve homeless girls, was launched after City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer visited the hotel-based women's shelter in his Long Island City district for Thanksgiving dinner in November.
"It was there that we dreamed of a Girl Scout troop created specifically for homeless girls," he said in a statement. "This money will help these girls realize their dreams. Helping to expand Troop 6000 is just about the most right thing I’ve ever been a part of."