HUD to help Jeffco foster kids get started

County organizations receive funding for housing program

Posted 11/6/19

Housing costs in the Denver metro area are hard enough, but imagine trying to get your first place without a parent’s help, or a childhood home to fall back to. “Trying to make it, with no home …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

HUD to help Jeffco foster kids get started

County organizations receive funding for housing program

Posted

Housing costs in the Denver metro area are hard enough, but imagine trying to get your first place without a parent’s help, or a childhood home to fall back to.

“Trying to make it, with no home support, trying to go to school full time, or even working full time without any higher education, it’s really unfair,” is how Lori Rosendahl. CEO of the Jefferson Housing Authority.

That is exactly the situation many of the young adults leaving the Jefferson County foster system encounter. But a new pilot program, which just got five times as large thanks to a grant announcement by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, aims to help with that.

Jefferson County Human Services, in partnership with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and the county’s housing authority, had recently started the program, giving housing assistance vouchers to young adults leaving the foster system. The vouchers allow the former foster kids guaranteed housing, at only 30% of their income.

“We moved our first young gal in, in the spring,” said Leah Varnell, the executive director of CASA of Jefferson and Gilpin Counties.

In the case of that initial trial recipient, she was attending school full-time. With zero income, it meant not having to pay anything. The housing authority covers the balance of the rent charged by the landlord.

The trial program aimed to have about five former foster kids supplied with vouchers as of spring 2020. But last week HUD announced $1.5 million in nationwide funding, as part of the Foster Youth to Independence initiative, with $218,449 headed to Jefferson County. Rosendahl estimates that the extra money would allow the program to grow to 25 foster youth.

“We’re really excited and really grateful to HUD,” Rosendahl said, adding that the existing partnership between her organization, CASA and the county undoubtedly helped them earn HUD’s approval in receiving the funding.

“it wasn’t hard for us to come up with a list of 25 young adults in immediate need, who were potentially facing homelessness,” Varnell said of the situation in Jeffco. “There’s over 100 youth in that trajectory to be emancipating from foster care.”

The HUD program assistance is time-limited. part of it focuses on what the agency calls basic life skills, such as working with landlords, as well as educational and career counseling to help prepare the young adults to become self-sufficient.

For Varnell, she says the rent assistance, as well as the other forms of help are a welcome addition. The foster system too, ends when the youth reaches 18, or chooses to emancipate early. Many are sick of the foster system by that time, but might not realize how hard it can be to start a life from scratch, she said.

“For every kid, my kids included, if you don’t have a safe, permanent place to base out of, how do you do all the things that help you become an adult?”

==========================

CASA, Leah Varnell 3.271-6536, Exec Director

currently two in trial program. "we moved our first young gal in, in the spring." The way proj started was the housing auth was just going to donate units. had to wait till units came open. "we just weren't seeing much movement all summer." aiming for 5 by the end of spring 2020.

"this will make us much easier to move these kids in.

Roughly, there's over 100 youth "in that trajectory to be emanicpating from foster care." "it wasn't hard for us to come up with a list of 25 young adults in immediate need, who were potentially facing homelessness."

Many of these people have had it with the system, and emancipate ASAP, even if they don't look before they leap, having a plan or resources.

Denver housing costs don't make process easier.

CASA not geared to do much to help the kids once they're out of the court and foster system. "for every kid, my kids included, if you don't have a safe permanent place to base out of, how do you do all the things that help you become an adult."

"We're excited because it will just jump start us." "we'll figure out what's working and tweak what isn't."

Will need volunteers for this project as well as their other vol role needs. Will need to furnish and stock apartments. In kind donations, financial ect. Just public awareness that particularily these you face.

Main line 3. 271-6535 web www.casajeffcogilpin.com

=======

Lori Rosendahl. CEO, lrosendahl@jcha.org

"we've been operating a really small prog with special advocates (casa and Jeffco human svcs, renting to some of their people transitioning out of foster care). they were paying 30% of their income, but someone going to school full time would have free housing.

"no home support, trying to go to school full time, or evne working fulltime, it's really unfair." " a lot of these kids don't have a home to come back to if things go bad." one less worry on their plate.

Pilot program went really well (2-3 people,started in the summer). so they applied.

"this will give us the oppo to house up to 25 people coming out of foster care." vouchers will let them rent from anyone. Need to double check, but most vouchers are totally movable.

Subsidy for 3 years. will give agencies 3 years to work on self sufficiency.

"We're really excited and really grateful to HUD." housing auth had a list, and a track record. She thinks that really showed they were ready now.

Can call CASA, Leah Barnell 3.271-6536 or Barbara Weinstein 3.271-4138 at human svcs.

"this is our first tesp with our growning partnership with CASa and the dept of human svcs." hoping to build a designated property for units for foster transition, looking 2 years out. It's purchased

"we do know that that is our next step, in moving forwqrd in partnership with those folks."

Now gotta find willing landlords.

"I am sure most of our youth will come to us with very little." housing auth has nonprofit foundation that they can donate.

Can contact the main office 3.422-8600, ask for Kristin gines for donating.

==========

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson today awarded $1.5 million to nearly a dozen housing authorities to assist young people aging out of foster care and who are at risk of experiencing homelessness. See chart below.

Funded through HUD’s new Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative, this fundingwill offer housing vouchers to local public housing authorities to prevent or end homelessness among young adults under the age of 25 who are, or have recently left, the foster care system without a home to go to. FYI requires that communities provide supportive services for the length of assistance to help youth achieve self-sufficiency. These activities center around basic life skills, landlord outreach, and job preparation. Additionally, they will receive educational and career counseling as well as counseling on program and lease compliance. This is critical given that the assistance is time limited.

“HUD wants to ensure young people who leave foster care have a smooth transition when they go out on their own,” said HUD Secretary Carson. “The funding announced today will allow local housing authorities to focus on helping young people find housing to keep them off the streets and prevent them from becoming homeless.”

These tenant-protection vouchers will go to public housing authorities that do not participate in HUD’s Family Unification Program. The public housing authorities must:

ØAdminister a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program;

ØEnter into a partnership agreement with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);

ØAccept young people referred by their partnering PCWA;

ØDetermine that the referred youth are eligible for HCV assistance.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that more than 20,000 young people age out of foster care each year. The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW) estimates that approximately 25 percent of these young people experience homelessness within four years of leaving foster care and an even higher share are precariously housed.

Jefferson County Housing Authority

Wheat Ridge

$218,449

Housing Authority of Garfield County

Rifle

$73,548

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.