ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After aging out of the foster care system, one in five young people will become homeless, according to advocacy group The HUB585. To help ease the transition between the infamously complex foster care system and adulthood, local leaders joined forces with The Hub to create a housing pilot program for this group.
Thursday, NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney, County Executive Adam Bello, and The HUB585 founder Dr. Ashley Cross announced the Transitional Living Foster Home Pilot Program, as well as $300,000 in state funding secured by Cooney.
Project coordinators will purchase a large single-family home in Rochester, which will be renovated into long-term housing for teenagers approaching and passing age 18.
“It’s very new to Monroe County, however it has been proven to be effective in states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin,” said Dr. Cross.
The two-year pilot program will start with 6 young women, and hopes to launch in July. The goal is to develop a safe space in the community for young adults as they leave their foster parents and prepare for independent life.
The young adults in the home will receive educational support to ensure GED completion alongside life skills training, as well as other traditional case management support. In addition to visits with caseworkers, the residents will participate in a mentorship program, and have a licensed foster parent living in the home, employed by The HUB585.
“Do they have their drivers license, do they know how to cook a well balanced meal, do they understand the basic life skills?” Dr. Cross said.
Organizers do plan to expand the program to include young men, “especially young men of color, but let’s get the system perfected for those who need it most,” Cooney said.
“And then our goal would be, ‘Let’s use the success to leverage more state dollars to buy another house,'” he added.
“At The Hub585, we believe that all youth can thrive when provided with a community of hope and healing where every child has a champion. This is what we aim to do through this project,” said Cross. “This home will […] provide layers of support for both the youth in foster care and the foster parents helping them navigate their transition to adulthood.”
To learn more about fostering children in the Rochester area, visit MonroeFosterCare.org.