New Home for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
The Friends of Hampshire County Homeless has funded its third home for homeless people, this time housing with support services for homeless youth aged 18-24. This at-risk population currently is underserved in Hampshire County. Reducing homelessness among young people is a high priority in regional and state planning; this project addresses that priority locally. We are excited about this new initiative!
The housing is being created in partnership with DIAL/SELF, a nonprofit agency that has offered a variety of youth services throughout the Pioneer Valley since 1977. DIAL/SELF has a proven track record in helping homeless youth with housing and with support services. The agency is community based and skilled at building alliances. Each young person served develops an individualized plan with the help of a caseworker. DIAL/SELF also has staff working on street outreach, to help locate and engage this often hard-to-reach population.
The Friends located and purchased a property, and renovated the home on it to house four young people, which is already in operation. A new building is being constructed to house another four residents, plus a common room & training area, as well as a staff office. The goal is for each youth is to attain self-sufficiency with the help of whatever training and counseling is needed. DIAL/SELF has found that this tends to take an average of a year or two, after which residents can move on to a place of their own, opening up spaces for new program participants.
The Friends has raised about $950,000 to make this possible, with funding from the City of Northampton Community Preservation Committee, private foundations, Edwards Church, banks and other businesses, and many donations large and small from the community at large. DIAL/SELF has raised another $220,000 for the new building. The Friends and DIAL/SELF need to raise about $180,000 more to finish the new building. If you’re interested in helping, please contact us.