AFFEC’s Host Home Program (HHP) offers youth/young adults (YYA) experiencing homelessness access to safe, stable housing and resources as well as connections with other supports (re-connect with school, family members, mentors, service providers, etc.) The HHP welcomes YYA ages 11-24 years old.
The HHP is funded through two grants: the Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (YEHP) through the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) managed by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Lane County. Each grant has individual requirements and more information can be found at the links below:
The HHP will use community member's homes as short term (maximum 6 months) and long term (minimum 6 months) placements. To help offset costs, YYA are assisted as needed with additional resources such as bus passes, clothes, school supplies, identification cards, college application fees, and more. For YYA 16 years old and up, agreements are signed at the beginning of their match to lay out expectations within the home, as well as with AFFEC to establish expectations for the program. Processes within our program, like drafting contract agreements, are intentionally flexible so that the program is as individualized as possible.
In order to effectively and efficiently address the needs of YYA students experiencing homelessness in our area, AFFEC is part of the Lane County-based coalition called 15th Night. 15th Night works to unite community providers under a resource network that connects providers with an advocate located in Lane County school districts, as well as other service providers in the area, in order to quickly provide YYA with resources they need. When an advocate discovers a YYA is experiencing homelessness, the advocate uses the 15th Night resource network to alert AFFEC's HHP.
The YHDP Host Home Program observes the following guiding principals
Housing First: Housing First programs focus on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing and then providing the additional supports and services each person needs and wants to stabilize in that housing. Services are never mandatory and cannot be a condition of obtaining the housing intervention. The basic underlying principle is that persons are better able to move forward with their lives once the crisis of homelessness is over and they have control of their housing.
Low Barrier: Housing First programs do not require persons to prove "housing readiness." There are no preconditions. Persons experiencing homelessness do not have to: demonstrate sobriety, engage in treatment, have employment, or have income to obtain program entry or for continued assistance. Stable housing is of critical importance for participants' health, education, employment, and other related quality of life determinants.
Harm Reduction: In accordance with Harm Reduction principles, contracted programs must not require treatment or sobriety. We work with program participants to reduce the negative consequences of the person's continued use of alcohol and/or drugs, or non-compliance with medications. Harm Reduction approach do not terminate assistance based solely on a person's inability to achieve sobriety or because of medication non-compliance.
Trauma-Informed Care: An organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma Informed Care also emphasizes physical, psychological and emotional safety for both participant and providers, and helps participants rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. Place priority on the trauma's survivor's safety, choice, and control.
Promote Youth Choice: Youth will have choice in the support services they engage in. Youth will have choice in the geographical region they would like to reside in. the house setting, and whom they live with. Employment and education services will be tailored to individual participants' interested and motivation.
Positive Youth Development (PYD): Positive Youth Development is an approach for working with young people that focuses on psychological, emotional, and social development rather than problems or deficits. PYD promotes opportunities for developing and sustaining positive relationships, acknowledging individual strengths. It supports youth and young adults in building protective factors and resiliency.
Having a safe and stable place to call home is an immeasurably important resource that many of us take for granted. The host home matching system is mirrored after that of our mentoring program, in that it matches youth with volunteers on a strengths and needs basis. The pair will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night network. Through connection to the network, AFFEC can help youth get their Oregon ID, food stamps, clothing vouchers, 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. However, we do have certain requirements to be a host home. Housing providers must:
- Have an available, private bedroom for the youth that has a bed, a window, and space for them to store their belongings.
- Have at least one adult, age 21+, who permanently resides in the home.
If you believe that you could provide a youth in need with a place in your home, AFFEC encourages you to apply. The process for becoming one of our housing providers is as follows:
- Fill out a volunteer application.
- Complete a background and sex offender registry check
- Provide x3 references
- Interview/ home tour
- Complete the orientation and training to serve youth. You also will need CPR/ First Aid certification.