|Where do youth go when they leave Open Door Youth Shelter - West Town ’s
Most often youth:
- Move to a longer-term transitional housing program
- Are reunified with family (only if safe)
- Get their own apartment
- Realize they’re not ready for a program and return to the streets.
Once youth leave, they face new problems. Our Continuing Care Coordinator
works with them to resolve them constructively. Some problems include:
Problem: The youth’s housing, job, or school arrangement is in jeopardy
because they have forgotten to take particular steps.
Solution: Our Continuing Care Coordinator helps teach life skills to our Interim Housing Program residents, so she has a fairly accurate idea of the areas where each
youth will need particular assistance after leaving. We tailor assistance to
the youth’s particular needs and circumstances.
Problem: Not enough income and/or work hours to remain self-sufficient. Youth
have difficulty making ends meet on a minimum wage job. Many entry-level jobs
are part-time with no benefits. If a youth is disabled, the difficulties increase.
Solution: In the short term, when possible, we help youth make use of subsidized
housing and public benefits so they can stretch their meager incomes. For their
long-term future, we work with and encourage youth to increase their marketable
skills through education, job training referrals, volunteer experience, or
internships. We support youth during this difficult time with advice on how
to navigate working two jobs or in going to school while working.
Problem: Youth making the transition to their own apartment may experience feelings
of intense loneliness, boredom or depression. Often the youth we serve are
used to living in group environments, on the street, or in a very chaotic dysfunctional
home. This new calmness of living alone can be stressful. Many of our youth
have been traumatized in the process of becoming homeless. Often post-traumatic
stress symptoms don’t surface until the youth is outwardly stable and
has had time and space to reflect.
Solution: We offer emotional support, our services and referrals to other
organizations. We try to connect youth to therapy so they have a place to work
through their problems in a healthy way.