After breaking ground almost a year ago, a transitional housing complex designed for youth in the foster care system is nearly complete.
For many teens coming out of the foster care system, transitioning into self-sufficient adulthood can be very difficult. A supportive housing program aims to make the change a little easier.
Chris Schwartz transitioned out of foster care. "Some of us don't have job experience, some of us don't know what we're doing after high school. So, basically we become homeless," said Schwartz. Transitional programs are providing the tools needed to be successful. "It gives us enough time to find a place to live and a job and then be able to work on what we want to do with our lives."
Tivon Knight, who also transitioned out of foster care, said, "it helped me transition into adulthood, into being responsible, to wanting, actually just wanting to do good. To be something, to be successful."
A new program is taking it a step further, offering housing for low-income youth with psychiatric disabilities, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. "It's a long term housing opportunity for them. It's a way for them to build up a nest egg for their future, education wise as well as monetarily," said Randy Coats, Executive Director of Golden Empire Affordable Housing.
The Residences at West Columbus is a 56-unit complex, with 20 apartments specifically for transitional age youth. Through several community partners, residents will participate in social and recreational activities, learn job skills and have mental health treatment.
"They have a chance to be in a nice place that has some support services right there on site to help them be successful and to gain some independence," said Mental Health System Administrator Deanna Cloud.
It's just what some need.
Knight said, "From having basically nothing, to coming in and having people that care and want to help, it helps tremendously. It just, I mean I can't even explain how much it made a difference. Encourage us to go to school, encourage us to want to be successful. It's helped a lot, mentally and physically."
The complex is expected to be finished in March with people moving in by April 1st. Rent will be based on a resident's income, but will be around $250 a month. They are still accepting applications.