With our Next Step Housing program youth can now live in their own apartment with the security of a support system and a life-skills education, preparing them for successful independence.
THRU Project’s Next Step Housing Program started in 2018 with a grant from The Nancy Smith Hurd Foundation and continues with the generous support of Kym Rapier.
We started with one youth and have graduated 16 youth to date from the program. With huge support from our first grantor and after years of working and talking with our former foster youth, we designed a program we knew would be successful based on the needs of foster youth and the gaps in crucial life skills.
Our program is unique because we provide an apartment, RENT-FREE, for one full year while also providing support services and requiring youth to learn the basic life skills we all need to live independently. We have a list of eligibility requirements for our youth which include being in THRU’s mentor program for at least three (3) months, have secured either full-time or part-time employment, as well as the completion of other application/interview/mentor referral portions. This process may take longer but ensures youth are ready to take on the responsibility of living on their own.
Once youth are accepted into our housing program, they are introduced into their new apartment. THRU Project is able to provide some of the necessary basic needs to help furnish their first apartment with the help of monetary donations and donations of specific household items. THRU Project does not have a large storage space, so when the need arises … we have our own support system, THRU Connections, to issue a call-to-donate for the particular needs of each youth.
Having this opportunity of a rent-free apartment for a year allows our youth to focus on other areas of their life like elevating their job status, applying for college or trade school, or both. While in our program, THRU Project also works with our Housing Program Youth to tailor a budget to their needs and help them adjust it as their needs change. We assist them in opening a savings account in their name and the importance and peace of mind that savings provide. If you could only see the pride in their faces as they see their savings account grow!
Upon graduation from our housing programs, our youth have saved, on average, nearly $4,000! Our highest saver was over $9,000! Once our youth have completed our program, they either take ownership of their current lease or they move where they wish. When COVID hit, we had several housing graduates who lost employment because of the pandemic, but they had a safety net to fall back on while they worked to gain new employment.