Turning eighteen is a critical turning point in a young person’s life. It can be a fresh, exciting season marked by freedom and self-discovery, but it also often presents a set of unexpected challenges. Many young people are expected to be completely self-sufficient, even if they weren’t taught many valuable life skills. Some youth age out of foster care. Others are kicked out of their homes without being equipped to care for themselves.
These young people may work long hours to pay for food and rent. They may stay with a sexual partner out of necessity, not love. They may be forced to sleep far away from their school district and unable to easily travel to school. As teenagers, they may also face shame, ridicule, self-esteem issues or other mental health challenges as a result of all of the turmoil. Any of these problems can make it seem impossible to provide for themselves and live healthy, productive lives.
Second Story for Homeless Youth helps youth with housing, counseling, and life skills support so that they are equipped to fulfil their potential and become self-sufficient adults. In a typical year, more than 80 percent of the young people in our program are able to meet their employment goals and almost 90 percent meet their education goals.
Second Story for Homeless Youth works with young people in three ways:
- Rapid Re-housing provides housing and other supports for 18-24 year olds for up to two years. Young people who are eligible for this program must meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) definition of homelessness, meaning they are living in a homeless shelter, sleeping on the streets or another place not meant for human habitation, or fleeing domestic violence. This program first places youth in housing and then works on meeting milestones like obtaining a job or a GED.
- FCPS Youth provides housing for young people who are currently enrolled in school through Fairfax County Public Schools. These young people are 18 or older and working to finish their high school education. Second Story for Homeless Youth provides housing, case management, and counseling.
- Transitional Living Program provides housing for young people aged 18-21 who are unstably housed (different from the Rapid Re-Housing ‘HUD homeless’ requirement). Through Second Story for Homeless Youth, these young people have access to housing, case management, and counseling. They are required to have a job or be attending school and life skills groups.