The County of San Mateo has been awarded $340,677 to provide housing assistance to youth who are transitioning out of foster care and are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
The funding was awarded through the federal Housing and Urban Development’s Foster Youth to Independence Initiative.
“This is great news because the high cost of housing often forces our foster youth to move away once they age out of the system – or too often become homeless,” said Ray Hodges, executive director of the County Housing Authority. “When these young adults move away or become homeless, they often lose connections with their friends and their support systems.”
The grant will provide 15 young adults ranging from 18 to 24 years old with vouchers they can use to subsidize rent.
The subsidy is needed because the fair market rent is $2,631 a month for a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in San Mateo County. Each participant will receive on average about $1,700 a month in rental assistance.
“It’s such a monumental challenge for these young people who are just becoming adults to find any kind of affordable housing,” said Carole Groom, a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. “Most have struggled with so many issues and it requires a special kind of resiliency to overcome obstacles without a family to support them. I’m so grateful this grant helps us help these very deserving young adults.”
Under terms of the grant, qualifying youth can receive housing assistance for up to 36 months. The youth also receive a number of support services through the County’s Human Services Agency.
Vouchers and support services are seen as key to helping foster youth transitioning out of the system from becoming homeless. Researchers have found that in California, “One of the most significant challenges transition-age foster youth face is homelessness.”
Interested in becoming a resource family for local foster youth? Go to https://www.helpsanmateokids.com/foster/ to learn how to get started.