In the past two weeks, Hope Solutions has housed thirteen households including homeless families and our first three homeless youth. Hope Solutions is very proud to celebrate the launch of the new Youth and Young Adults (YYA) program which offers participants, ages 18-25, permanent housing, subsidies, and intensive services to achieve self-sufficiency and housing stability.
“Getting into the [Hope Solutions] program was life changing – I never thought I would leave homelessness. Many times I felt like I would be stuck in the rat race. It gave me the peace of mind like I’m not in this alone. I have support and I have hope. I can focus on my job, my health, and really just focus on becoming a productive caring independent adult that is not on survival mode 24/7.” – Josue
Last week, three formerly homeless youth, Amani, Josue, and Taylor moved into a gorgeous home, where they have safety and renewed hope. The three roommates all faced similar challenges as homeless young adults. Meals were found at churches, pantries or shelters. Sometimes they had to ask for restaurant leftovers. They would use friend’s houses to shower to keep up with hygiene. Safety at night was always a challenge. Amani would sleep anywhere she could find that was warm including the park, cars, and abandoned buildings. For Josue, the only sense of safety and security came from the protection of his pocketknife. Although he was thankful for the bed and support of transportation at shelters, he was not able to stay for long periods of time to “avoid peer pressure and a lot of different types of drama that would occur.” Besides the Rescue Mission, Taylor utilized BART, parks, and open areas that seemed safe to sleep at night, but sleep was always hard. He stayed very isolated because he thought it would keep him the safest.
Connecting to Hope Solutions’ Youth and Young Adult program has been life altering for each of these youth. As Taylor shared, “I finally feel like I am part of a community. I feel a sense of accomplishment in my life and I know there’s hope for my future. I am working with my Case Manager and Housing Navigator on present and future goals. Every day I wake up I feel better because I have my own spot, my own bed, my own space. The hard part of being homeless was knowing you can lose it all at any time. To continue to grow, maintain employment and just accomplish my goals is what I look forward to the most.”
In addition to housing location services, rent subsidy, move-in supplies and support, Youth and Young Adult (YYA) clients work intensively with a Case Manager to create a Housing Stability Plan (HSP). The HSP outlines a strategy for securing and increasing income, provides support in personal financial planning and life skills such as managing a household and shopping for food, and helps participants access needed services from public and community-based service agencies. Ultimately, the goal of the program is for youth to earn a living wage and take over the full rent, creating a permanent home from which they can live their dreams.
In the next year, Hope Solutions is looking forward to housing more than 40 youth to enable them the same sense of renewed hope, opportunity and support as was provided to Amani, Josue, and Taylor.