Most of us remember our 18th birthday with fond memories of becoming an adult and having a new sense of responsibility and invulnerability. For most of us, it was a time of excitement. For the hundreds of youth who age out of foster care in Central Florida each year or those with fractured families however, this milestone is filled with apprehension and uncertainty. Most of the youth, usually still in high school, have little savings, few job skills and no form of private transportation. They are unprepared to live completely on their own.
The Village, IMPOWER’s Transitional Housing Program, offers safe affordable housing combined with comprehensive wraparound supports for homeless and former foster youth between the ages of 18 – 23 years. Aimed at preventing homelessness and assisting young adults as they transition to adulthood, staff and community volunteers serve as a safety net and help youth to complete their education and enhance employment and independent living skills.
While at The Village, youth experience living on their own in a dorm like setting with highly trained staff available to assist with employment skills, educational needs and hands on life skills training. Partnerships with community agencies allow the residents at The Village access to legal services, substance abuse and prevention programs, mental health services and job skills training. Community partnerships, volunteers and mentors help youth achieve emotional well-being and self-reliance. Donations assist in providing youth with furnishings and household goods to begin their new life.
When a youth is ready to transition out of The Village, staff continue to stay involved post-discharge through voluntary Permanency and Extended Support Services (PESS). These PESS services are also available to community youth who are not involved in community and family services and in need of stability and supports.
History & ImpactEstablished in 2006 and built as collaboration of many community partners The Village serves provides housing and/or support services for approximately 40 Central Florida youth every year. As of May 2017, The Village has helped to prevent homelessness and provided safe and affordable housing for more than 175 homeless and former foster youth.
Of those youth who reside at The Village for at least 90 days:
- 88% transitioned to permanent housing
- 79% gained employment either full or part time
- 100% were enrolled in an academic or trade program
Information for Prospective Youth ResidentsTo qualify for transitional housing youth must be:
- At least 18 years of age and a former foster youth
- Willing to attend school full-time
- Work part time or work with The Village staff to develop employability skills
- Participate in essential life skills
- Shop, cook, and do own laundry and assist with household chores
- Maintain a savings account
ReferralsYouth can be referred by their case manager, Guardian Ad Litem or Independent Living Coordinator. Self-referrals are also accepted. All youth are required to complete and intake screening and participate in a panel interview prior to admission. To make a referral, please download the form and return
Village Events and Volunteer OpportunitiesWithout family supports of their own, most youth at The Village rely on generous individuals and community members to help them as they work on achieving their goals. Here a few ways you can help:
– Adopt a room at The Village
– Host or sponsor a holiday meal for Village residents
– Organize or teach a life skills class
– Help with maintenance, grounds clean up or other facility needs
-Sort donations and help with our clothing closet
-Assemble care packages or housewarming baskets
-Help celebrate their milestones – throw a graduation party, a birthday party, a housewarming party, etc. for a youth or a group of youth
-Organize a donation drive to support our wish list