Historic Florence Crittenton Home Set To Close

Nov 12, 2013

The Florence Crittenton Home, a small agency with a long history of serving pregnant girls and women in Lexington, will close its doors this month.

The Florence Crittenton Home
The Florence Crittenton Home

While no stranger to tight budgets, the home will end its services November 26 because of insufficient funding. Executive Director Mary Venezie says back when a group of church women started the service Lexington was a very different place.

"The city of Lexington had over 200 houses of prostitution in the 1890s and they got together and they bought this property and they took care of women who found out they were pregnant," she says.

The organization changed with the times, but remained a small agency, serving 11 girls and eight babies last year. About 80 percent of the home’s funding had come from the state, but as officials look to keep more girls in their homes or with foster parents, the support for organizations like Crittenton is declining.

When asked if she’s hopeful the home might find another source of funding or a way to continue in another form, Venezie struggles to stay hopeful.

"I don't want to give up, but I've sort of been told to give up. And I don't want to," she says.

Crittenton had an annual budget around $600,000, but Venezie says the organization always kept a low profile, even when fundraising, out of respect for their clients.