In October 2016, ShelterCare received a grant from the State of Oregon to help provide housing and support services to 15 young adults (18-24) who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness, and living with a serious mental illness.
We are pleased to announce that all the spots have been filled, and 15 young adults have secured stable housing thanks to a combination of support from a Housing Specialist, who helps them explore housing options in the community, and a Peer Support Specialist, who helps them identify and work toward their personal goals.
Dana Petersen-Crabb, who oversees the program, believes the collaboration between Housing Specialist and Peer Support Specialist to be a vital part of the program’s effectiveness.
“The combination of these two roles is what has made the program so successful,” says Petersen-Crabb. “Together they provide a complete package of support to young adults who are navigating the rental market for their first time, have limited support systems, and who also face mental health challenges.”
Throughout the past 18 months, Housing Specialist Ellen Winchester has provided these young adults with encouragement and guidance as they apply for apartments, speak to landlords, face competition, and sign leases for their very first apartments.
“Finding housing can be incredibly difficult for young people, especially during such a competitive time in the housing market” says Winchester. “For young adults with mental health challenges, it can be even more difficult to get a foot in the door, which is why we support them though the process.”
As Winchester helps clients remove barriers to housing, the Peer Support Specialist works with clients on their personal goals, and connects them to resources that can help with everything from their mental health challenges to their career goals. She also helps clients learn how to live on their own, as most of them have never managed a household before.
“Young Adults in the program are given the opportunity to avoid the mental health strain, negative health impact, joblessness, and criminal charges that plague their adult counterparts experiencing chronic homelessness,” says Petersen-Crabb. “Thanks to support from both our Housing Specialist and Peer Support Specialist, young adults can leave our program with tools that are important for a successful future.”
Of the 15 young adults in the program, seven have been housed for a year, four have been housed for 6 months, one is interviewing for a job, and three are attending community college. As clients exit the program at their discretion, our Housing Specialist and Peer Support Specialist are able to help even more young adults reach their goals.