Why Do We Need the Host Home Program?
Here in the Eugene/Springfield homelessness is a widespread issue that many organizations have been grappling with for years. In Eugene alone there are over 300 students experiencing homelessness each year -- and these are just the students who come forward.
Youth under the age of 18 are unable to access many food distribution resources, shelters, and resource centers due to their status as a minor. For those between the ages of 18 and 23, the available resources are oftentimes not appropriate and young people can find themselves interacting with populations they have not yet encountered. In order to fill this gap in resources for youth the Host Home Program acts as a safety net for young people experiencing homelessness.
How Does the Host Home Program Work?
AFFEC identifies and certifies volunteers who have space in their homes and in their hearts for a student experiencing homelessness. These Host Homes act as a layer of support by providing a student a safe and reliable home while the continue their education. While Host Home Volunteers are not considered foster parents, they do serve a mentor-like role in the youth’s life by helping him or her gain the life skills needed so they do not fall back into the life of homelessness in the future.
Who Does the Program Serve?
We serve students experiencing homelessness in Eugene/Springfield. The youth we serve are actively attending school, have no history of violence against others and are not in immediate need of medical interventions. What’s more, the program is voluntary -- no youth is ever pressured into becoming a part of the program and they understand that there are expectations should they decide to proceed and agree to those conditions. They have reached out because they want to be safe.
What are the Requirements to Become a Host Home?
Housing providers must:
- Have an available, private or shared bedroom for the youth that has a bed, a window, and space for them to store their belongings.
- Have at least one adult, age 26+, who permanently resides in the home.
- Have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Have either renters or house insurance.
- Have an economically stable living situation.
What Support Will the Students and Host Homes Receive?
Program participants will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night Network. By being connected to the network, AFFEC can help youth get their Oregon ID, SNAP benefits, clothing vouchers, transportation resources, and other necessities.
It is not expected that those taking youth into their homes will take on a heavy financial burden when providing this service.