INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - Children's Home Society of Florida, Treasure Coast Division, received a $50,000 grant from the Indian River Community Foundation to continue serving homeless high school students.
"This is the second year the Community Foundation Board of Directors has funded the Homeless in High School initiative because it closely aligns with one of our key focus areas and addresses an unmet and, unfortunately, growing need in Indian River County," said Kerry Bartlett, IRCF executive director. "This unique program is exceeding the measurable outcomes cited in the grant application. More importantly, the lives of our future residents and potential leaders are being dramatically strengthened due to the wrap-around support services and group living program offered by Children's Home Society."
In April 2012, CHS established the Homeless in High School initiative thanks to seed money provided by Indian River Community Foundation to provide safety-net services for high-school students not already involved in the foster care system. In a recent report, Indian River County Public Schools identified 36 homeless students in 2012-2013 school year.
The funding from Indian River Community Foundation will provide youth with the much-needed housing, financial support and other services they need so they can continue on a path that breaks the cycle of homelessness while remaining focused on their high school education. The Homeless in High School initiative, a component of the Transitional Living Program, is a multi-faceted program that provides a safety net of services for youth, ages 17-21, which are still enrolled in high school and homeless.
Safety net services include emergency shelter, long-term affordable housing, start-up rent and supplies, furniture, transportation, job placement, job coaching and tracking, mental-health assessments and counseling, crisis evaluation and navigation to services in the community, and case management and coordination that includes the development of a Life Plan, social skills training, and exit and transitional planning so that homeless youth become stabilized and move on to complete high school, secure employment, affordable housing and, most importantly, to pursue educational opportunities that will provide them with a path to independence.
This program does not receive federal or state funding and exists solely due to fundraising and grant efforts. Last year, CHS issued a community challenge to match the $50,000 provided by IRCF and the community responded enthusiastically. We again hope to challenge the community to help us serve more youth by donating to this much needed program. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.chsfl.org or contact Michelle King, Director of Development at (772) 344-4020, ext. 231.