Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Host Homes are needed for students

Our newest program is the Homeless Youth Initiative helps young people who are homeless, without the support of a parent or guardian and who are still in high school. Last year at the end of the school year there were over 300 young people in this precarious position. In partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools, Alternative House is leading a three-pronged program to provide housing and other supports. We are recruiting Host Homes (similar to hosting a foreign exchange student), providing rent vouchers and have a small transitional living program that can work with four young women. Program participants are 16 to 21 years old and must be completing high school.
The Homeless Youth Initiative Host Home program is aimed at providing a stable living situation and environment for homeless or unaccompanied youth who wish to graduate from high school. We find out about these students usually through a referral from their high school (counselor, teacher, friends/community).

The students may be immigrants who have come to the United States on their own and are living alone. They may be living in unsuitable conditions (a too crowded home or apartment where they sleep on the floor or in a closet). The students' living conditions may be about to expire (parents have set a deadline for when the student needs to move out, loss of immediate family members or a non-immediate family member who houses the student may be moving away).

Being a Host Home entails opening your home to the student. Many Host Homes provide transportation, meals, and general support to an HYI student. However, HYI staff provide significant support to assist with the student should the Host Home desire assistance. The student will have frequent contact with an HYI case manager, therapist and/or housing coordinator. HYI can provide necessities for the student (hygiene supplies, school supplies, clothes, etc.) In addition, most of our HYI students are eligible for food stamps and free or reduced cost health care.

If you are interested in becoming a Host Home, please contact Juan Leon through email at or phone (703) 343-3551.

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