Youth homeless is a problem our community is trying to solve. Like seniors, youth are often the hidden homeless. They don’t feel safe in the places where adults hang out.
For several years, Homes First has been working on developing an opportunity to work with Community Youth Services to address the biggest challenge to young adult success – having a home they can afford, services to help them transition to adulthood, and a landlord who treats them with dignity and respect.
In 2018, we made that dream a reality through our first successful housing partnership. Homes First bought a home and Community Youth Services moved in the youth and are providing the support structures they need to have a better future.
Addressing the need for affordable housing for youth is an opportunity to drive local growth and foster strong communities. While the Homes First housing model’s first objective is to benefit recipients directly, there are benefits that impact the community, economy and planet. We know it’s better for our community, the environment and families if people can afford stable and healthy housing. Youth have a better chance of being successful if they live in a safe, healthy and affordable home. Our organizations believe in supporting the economic independence of youth and families while strengthening our community.
At Homes First we envision fostering diverse and inclusive communities that people are proud to live in and have in their neighborhood. We want our tenants to be a part of our community rather than apart from it. In order to do this we provide scattered-site housing and small multi-unit complexes that are part of a community.
The CYS team consists of the participant and those who factor significantly in their long term care (household, therapists, clergy, teachers, parole officers, etc.). They work together with the participant to create a long term goal plan. Case managers then connect participants to services they need to implement their plan, arrange appointments, provide transportation and assist with paperwork. Case managers model basic skills for participants, such as doing laundry, cleaning their home and shopping on a budget. Participants learn valuable life skills in monthly workshops that focus on such topics as landlord tenant law, money management, healthy relationships and substance abuse awareness. Up to 20 participants who are pregnant and/or parenting receive enhanced case management services focused on job development, readiness and placement.