COLUMBUS, Ohio—Finding stable opportunities for homeless young adults can be a challenge, but homeless young adults will soon have a new place they can turn to for reliable housing.
That's because Star House, in partnership with the City of Columbus, is helping as many as they can by building a more long-term solution.
- Carol Stewart Village project will cost just under $5 million
- Units will house 18- to 24-year-olds aging out of foster care and other homeless young adults
- Housing is set to open within the first quarter of 2020
23-year-old Destiny Higgins recently moved into an apartment with her two-year-old daughter.
Having a place of her own beats having no place at all.
But she says more housing is needed for homeless young adults.
"I feel like we need to get rid of those abandoned buildings first instead of making skyscrapers downtown."
Higgins says, that's because a lot of homeless live in those abandoned buildings.
But now Star House CEO Ann Bischoff says, they're turning the old Motel 6 and Knights Inn in the Franklinton area into long term housing for homeless 18- to 24-year-olds, including those aging out of foster care.
"We see a pattern with our youth, where after being with us three or more months, 74 percent of them are housed, but then too often six months or a year later they're right back at our doors at the drop in center needing basic needs and connection to housing again,” said Bischoff.
$1.6 million dollars in grant money from the City of Columbus helped them purchase the property for the Carol Stewart Village.
It will consist of 105 housing units and 20 units for program work spaces.
Bischoff says, the one-stop shop is set to meet multiple needs.
"On site access to job training and jobs, health and well-being on-site through a clinic and most importantly the youth who live in this village have access to mentors.”
Six to eight mentors that is, who will help young adults set goals and get back on track.
Bischoff adds "It's almost like the college dormitory experience, where you have four years to get your certification in check, so you can be eligible for a livable wage outside of that. We're creating the same opportunity for young people to hit the pause button on their search for stable housing."
While this is a start, she says they're hoping to do more.
"This is the first of what we hope are many villages of this kind. I would love to see one in every corner of our community. It's essentially the recreation of a neighborhood within a neighborhood," said Bischoff.
As Destiny Higgins settles into her new place, she's looking forward to the future, but knows it will continue to take the community at large to help.
"I definitely think that if people had more of an ability to help in whatever way they can would make all the difference," Higgins said.
Star House CEO Ann Bischoff says they're still trying to determine how long young adults will be able to stay in a unit once they move in.
Rent is expected to run about $650 per month with utilities included.
New residents can expect to move in sometime in the beginning of 2020.