Youth who have aged out of Oregon’s foster care system will have access to the housing, skills and relationships they need to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through an innovative project that has received financial support from Bank of the West.
The transition to adulthood is a challenging time for any young adult, but former foster youth have an even greater set of challenges. Many youth age out of the child welfare system without the reliable resources and support usually found in stable family networks that are needed for safe and healthy transitions into adulthood. Conservative estimates suggest that as many as one in five youth will become homeless after exiting foster care. In addition, only 36% of youth leaving foster care at age 18 graduate from high school on time. Four years later only 48% have held a fulltime job.
The project’s name, New Meadows, comes from two of the project’s principle partner organizations, Bridge Meadows and New Avenues for Youth. Other partners include Children First of Oregon, OregonFoster Youth Connection, the Home Builders Foundation, and Renaissance Homes which will build a supportive housing facility that will accommodate 20 former foster youth.
“We decided to make this investment because of our long-term relationship with the Home Builders Foundation,” explains Kimberly Wheeler, Vice President/BM Division at Bank of the West. “They are our charity of choice, and they are pursuing a project that is so needed in our community.”
“We are honored to participate.” explains Ken Cowdery, Executive Director of the Home Builders Foundation (HBF). “This is part of the solution to a very big problem in Oregon. I’ve always wanted to do a project like this for foster youth.”
Renaissance Homes will be donating a portion of the labor and materials for construction of the project’s supportive housing facility in which is currently being designed. In addition, the HBF will also be securing donated and discounted laborand materials from members of the local and national home building industry.
Youth living in the facility will be connected to state-of- the-art job training, remedial education, and college readiness programs operated by New Avenues for Youth. The Bridge Meadows inter-generational community will serve as an anchor for the New Meadows project and provide youth with nurturing adult relationships.
About the Home Builders Foundation
The Home Builders Foundation, established in 1997, is the charity of choice for the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland. Their mission is to build transitional shelter for families and individuals experiencing homelessness in our community and provide construction related educational opportunities for individuals interesting in pursuing a career in the home building industry.