Are you looking for supportive housing for youth aging out of foster care? When young adults age out, often around 18 years old, it means that they are leaving the foster care system without having been placed in a permanent family or home. They weren’t re-united or adopted, they basically just “timed out.”
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough foster care transition programs out there to help all the youth aging out. And most of what exists are somewhat antiseptic and institutional. However, it is much better than it used to be and is still improving. Below we will cover some of the major options available to former foster youth.
Housing Programs for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
If you are in foster care as you approaching turning 18 years old, you basically have two major paths to choose when it comes to supportive housing specific to former foster youth. Either you continue into extended foster care, if your state offers it, or emancipate and pursue options apart from the state.
In the U.S., about 4% will emancipate before 18. For youth aging out of foster care in California, 2% will emancipate before 18, usually at ages16 or 17. Many states do not offer extended foster care and youth are immediately ejected from the system upon turning 18.
Extended Foster Care Housing Programs
If you decide to pursue extended foster care, you have several options depending on your age and system eligibility. The most common option offered for housing include apartments, single-family dwellings, condominiums, college dormitories, and host homes. And in some states, you may stay with your foster family or group home.
While this is an option, availability can be a real issue. Right now there are hundreds of youth waiting for a place in extended foster care in Los Angeles county. And the waiting list has doubled in the last 2 years.
Independent Youth Housing Programs
For those who chose not to continue with extended foster care, there are still options available to you. However, many organizations may hold you to the same requirements to pursue work or education.
Host Home programs typically house youth for 6 months or less as they transition to more stable housing. The Host Homes Program is available in a growing number of locations across the country. Finally Family Homes is starting up the first Host Home Program in Santa Clarita Valley in 2021.
Section 8 Housing for Aged Out Foster Youth
HUD’s Family Unification Program (FUP), under section 8, allows housing vouchers to be given to former foster youth but is often underutilized.
States receive allocations of funding under the ETV program to help serve youth aging out of foster care, but it is rarely used that way. To access the program, child welfare agencies must partner with a public housing agency to compete for grants. The grants are not awarded to youth, but to the public housing agencies.
The vouchers for families are permanent, but those for youth formerly in foster care expire in 18 months.
To learn more about this housing program, visit: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PIH/documents/One_Pager_Overview_of_FYI_Notice.pdf
To be eligible for the FUP vouchers, former or current (aging out) youth must be 18-24 years old and without housing (homeless or couch-surfing) or at risk for homelessness (i.e., received eviction notice).
Supportive Housing with HUD Foster Youth Independence Program
Vouchers are available to youth via the new FYI Program. Youth cannot receive section 8 and FYI vouchers simultaneously. Public Housing Authorities (PHSs) may apply to administer Tenant Protection Vouchers to Eligible Youth by submitting an application to HUD’s Office of Housing Voucher Programs (OHVP) at FYITPV@hud.gov. Learn more.
Eligible youth can access this program through child welfare agencies and Continuums of Care.
Challenges Facing Youth Transitioning Out Of Foster Care
The statistics for aging out foster youth in the United States point to those same outcomes for our kids here! The foster care homeless youth statistics are devastating. Upon aging out, 20% become instantly homeless. . It’s estimated that approximately 1,000 of the homeless youth that sleep on the streets of Los Angeles came from foster care.
Gangs and other predators target foster kids – who they see as vulnerable and desperate for “family.” Read more about the unique challenges foster youth face as they exit foster care on their own.
Supportive Housing We Offer Youth Aging Out Of Foster Care
At Finally Family Homes, we believe that a family-oriented, relational home is the BEST transitional solution for supporting youth as they work towards a successful adulthood. That’s what Host Homes provide.
Opening the doors of host homes is the first step towards helping provide a better future for former foster youth. By providing the housing, connection, and support they need, we can empower youth to reach their full potential.
They can safely work towards higher education or finding a good job in a safe and caring environment.
How to Help Former Foster Youth With Housing
If you are currently working with a youth who is aging out, be sure to connect with the appropriate government offices (ideally the youth’s caseworker) to develop a plan and pursue the best fit for the youth you are working with.
If you’d like to get involved in helping a youth who doesn’t have a home or as it high risk of becoming homeless after foster care. There are a variety of ways you can get involved today!
If you are in the Santa Clarita area, please check out our Host Homes page to see about opening up a bedroom in your home to a youth who could use it.
Be sure to also check out:
Nationally Available Aging Out Of Foster Care Programs