Housing for Youths Aging Out of Foster Care

Housing for Youths Aging Out of Foster Care

From Samuel Turay

Goodwill Agents International Inc. is currently seeking funds to undertake the construction of a multi-unit building in which young people (Youths) aging out of foster care will be housed.

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Most young people in the United States are experiencing an increasingly prolonged transition to adulthood. It is no longer assumed that they will automatically become self-sufficient adults on their 18th or even 21st birthdays. Rather, young people are gradually taking on the roles and responsibilities traditionally associated with adulthood while they acquire the education and work experience needed to become economically independent. This is often made possible by direct financial assistance and other support provided by parents or other family members. In fact, it is now normative for young people to remain at least somewhat economically dependent on their families well past age18. The transition for young people who exit foster care not through reunification, adoption, or legal guardianship, but rather by aging out, is much more abrupt. At age 18 or, in some states, at age 21, these young adults are expected to shift from being dependents of the state to being independent young adults virtually overnight. As part of the accelerated transition, young people aging out of foster care must find and maintain suitable housing—in most cases, with little or no support from either their family or the state.

To address these problems, the Goodwill Agents International Inc., (GAI), a 501C3 non –profit organization, is currently seeking funds to undertake the construction of a multi-unit building in which young people (Youths) aging out of foster care will be housed. They will be required to pay at least a minimal amount of rent and/or to contribute to a personal savings account. The rent contribution may be a percentage of income (often 30 percent) or a graduated amount (i.e., increasing to 100 percent of rent) and may differ by housing type within a single program. Among employed youth, the contribution to savings is typically a percentage of income or earnings. Requiring young people to pay rent or contribute to a savings account is a way to help build self-sufficiency and appears to be the logic behind the graduated approach. Similarly, when young people are required to contribute to a personal savings account, they may use their savings to cover a first month’s rent, a security deposit, or other housing costs upon exit from the program.

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