Youth Housing Year Intensive Program
Youth Programming At SOS BC (Ages 16-24)
SOS Children’s Village BC is affiliated with SOS Children’s Villages International with over 570 villages worldwide. Being a part of this community allows us access to a vast network and research database on foster care. Currently among the global community, there are concerns for youth and their development as they become self-sufficient adults. A recent document and survey that was conducted among 12 countries indicate that “young people felt that their notice to leave care was abrupt” and that they were “unprepared” for independence (Ageing Out of Care, 2010).
Like many other global communities, British Columbia’s youth are facing a similar challenge. Because the Ministry of Children and Family Development cuts off financial support at 19, many of our youth are left unsupported and moving in and out of homelessness – when statistics show that young adults fromstable families live at home until they are in their mid-twenties. The financial burden of rent, education, and self-management can be overwhelming to the youth in our community. The lack of stability often pushes these at-risk youth to dangerous extremes.
A recent study on youth aging out of care in BC indicated similar perspectives:
“… what is needed is a rethinking of existing government policies,
programs, and priorities, along with the role of communities and
families in supporting youth from care. Central to this rethinking is our
key message and primary recommendation: that youth from care need
to have as gradual and extended a transition process to adulthood as
youth in the general population. “
– (When Youth Age Out of Care, 2007)
To counter the challenges and obstacles our youth aging out of care face, SOS BC has refined its model of care and programming, and has developed an intensive housing program that will teach and prepare our youth for independence.
YOUTH HOUSING YEAR INTENSIVE OVERVIEW
SOS BC has developed an intensive 12 month program to help our youth aging out of care continue living in a supported environment, while they attain the essential skills to prepare them for independence. The program offers support to our youth much like our Transition to Adulthood Program, however, in the housing program, a stronger emphasis is placed on life skills, self-management, and wellness.
Living at our Village, youth will have access to resources and staff for support only a few steps from their suite. The Village Centre serves as a hub for life skills development classes and counselling offices for youth who wish to seek counsel for personal matters. SOS Children’s Village BC believes in a home for every child. The Village will serve as a safe and nurturing environment for our youth to get engaged, be respected as individuals, and be contributing members of a community.
SHORT TERM GOALS
- Provide a positive and safe network of resources to help youth transition from foster care to independence
- To assist the neighbouring communities, organizations, and agencies, to work towards preparing youth for success
- To advocate for the rights of our young adults and to ensure they are receiving assistance and support while they find stability
LONG TERM GOALS
- To prevent youth from moving in and out of homelessness in inner-city communities
- To give youth a sense of independence and the opportunity to be contributing members of society
- To ensure youth are led down a positive path to success and stability
- To create a sense of permanency amongst our youth population to ensure youth will always have a place to turn, even after support is no longer needed
The program has been structured around a three stage gradual release model. As the youth continue through the stages, completion of short term goals must be achieved before proceeding to the next stage, where youth work with staff to work towards a new set of goals progressively moving towards the long term goal of preparing youth for independence. When reaching the third stage, youth will work towards graduating and successfully transitioning into their own home.
PLANT (Orientation: Month 1-4) +
- This first stage in the program is designed to get youth familiar with their environment and surroundings. Important goals and strategies in this stage include: Basic Living Skills 101, a welcome and introduction to the Village and community, establishing goals for the youth to complete by the end of the 3 month mark, and a briefing on the rules and expectations of youth as a member of our Village.
- To help with the transition in, youth will receive a gift card to a local grocery store, as well as an ‘Apartment in a Box’ to help with their first few weeks in.
- Expectations for youth at this stage include: Rent payment in the amount of $400, 3 weekly check-ins with our youth worker, and mandatory involvement with program and therapies as discussed with youth team prior to move in.
- Youth who do not complete their goals successfully run the risk of remaining in the PLANT stage, and also run the risk of losing housing.
- The suites will come fully furnished with the intention of giving these furnishings to youth once they have successfully completed the program.
- Every month $100 will be taken from rent to put into savings for the client. When the client completes the program successfully, the money saved will be released to the youth with the intention that it will be used to help transition the youth into their own independent suites in the community. For example, cost of first month’s rent and damage deposit or purchasing new furniture if necessary, etc.
GROW (Routine: Month 5-8) +
- In order for a youth to reach the GROW stage, youth must have achieved goals set at the PLANT stage. For youth to be granted entry into the second stage, the Youth Team will assess if the youth is prepared to take on the next stage.
- When a youth is granted entry, working with our Youth Workers, the client will establish new goals for the GROW stage and review the last three months to see where they may have had success or where they may have had challenges. Rules at this stage also shift, giving youth more responsibility, and more liberties within their suite and community. Youth workers will also revise plans and expectations for programming and therapies based on the needs of the clients.
- It is important to note that rent will increase to $500 at this stage.
THRIVE (Exit and transition to Aftercare: Month 9-12) +
- The last and final stage of the program is designed to transition youth into their own suite outside of the Village community and out into the REAL WORLD! Like the last two stages, new goals are established with the youth and a revised plan is set forward. Liberties are granted and responsibilities are increased as youth learn to become contributing members of the Village community. The THRIVE stage also provides youth with rent-ready education and support to ensure they are comfortable taking on housing on their own including searching for housing, viewings, and etiquette around tenant and landlord relationships.
- Rent as discussed will now be increased to $600.
- Upon successful completion of the program, youth are entitled to all the furnishings in the suite, support during the move out process, and a release of their savings to help with the move.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE YEAR INTENSIVE PROGRAM
One of the goals of our intensive year program is to set our youth up for success. Some of our features ensure that our youth have ample time and opportunities to succeed out on their own.
- Cost of Transition – A portion of rent paid to SOS on a monthly basis will be automatically put into a savings account. Upon successful completion of the program, the savings will be released back to the youth. The money saved will be managed by the youth with support from their Youth Worker to help with the transition into their own place in the community – helping with costs such as rent, damage deposit, insurance, and personalizing the new space. (Example: If a youth is prepared to commit $100 to the savings, they would be leaving the program with $1,200 saved to ease into their living accommodations)
- Furnishing a New Home – Each youth who is admitted into the program is entitled to take all the furnishings with them once they have completed the program. This includes everything from a bed to appliances in the kitchen (Apartment In A Box).
- Long Meaningful Relationships – Once an SOS youth, always an SOS youth. All youth will permanently be attached to SOS BC. Even after the completion of the program, SOS Youth Workers stay in touch in case something comes up and support is needed.
Working with our team of staff, youth gain experience and knowledge for learning how to live independently.
PROGRAM APPLICATION FORM
PLEASE CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING BEFORE REFERRING OR APPLYING TO THE HOUSING PROGRAM:
1) Youth must be aged 16-24 to apply who are in care and/or on a youth agreement or have transitioned from care.
2) ARE PREPARED AND WILLING TO ENGAGE IN THIS PROGRAM AND ARE READY TO MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES IN THEIR LIFE TO UNDERSTAND AND ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE HOUSING.
3) Have an income from employment and/or government funding.
4) CAN LIVE IN A VILLAGE COMMUNITY CONSISTING OF FIVE FOSTER FAMILIES, CHILDREN, AND YOUTH.
5) Are willing to take a criminal record/background check. Youth involved or who have had criminal incidents on their record will NOT be considered.
1) Submit application form with reference letter to SOS Children’s Village BC by fax (604) 574-2967 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) Submission will be reviewed by Youth Program Staff and Village Reps.
3) Applicant will be contacted, or key worker, to discuss interview process.
APPROVED APPLICANT PROCESS
1) If Applicants or key workers are called and there is no response after 3 attempts, case workers will move to the next applicant.
2) After Applicant is contacted and they are granted into the interview stage of application, the youth and key worker will meet
with the housing staff to assess whether or not the Applicant is a suitable fit for the housing program.
3) If the interview is successful, the Applicant will move into the introduction stage of housing, where they will be expected to sign and agree to the Year Intensive Contract which outlines parameters of the program.
4) Youth workers and team will then arrange orientation and move in.