To accommodate the constraints of the initial pilot program, Host Homes Cowichan is currently focusing on 6-8 youth and/or young adults aged 16-26 (aging out of care) residing in the Cowichan Valley. The pilot program will also only be on a temporary six-month basis until additional long-term funding is secured, once the proof-of-concept program is demonstrated. It is hoped and expected, however, that with the proven success of this pilot, Host Homes Cowichan will immediately be able to launch a more robust program that will expand in capacity, offerings, and length.
Why Choose Host Homes Cowichan?
Host Homes Cowichan is a program designed for youth and young people aged 16-26-years-old who are at-risk of or are experiencing homelessness (although exceptions can, on occasion, be made based on individual circumstances to incorporate individuals who do not fall within these age specifications). The program offers an alternative to the foster care system or temporary housing/shelter options by pairing young persons with a caring host family with whom they will live on a longer-term basis. In this home, youth/young adults are provided with a private room, a bed and bedding, food to make three meals a day, access to amenities and laundry, and supportive adults who can lend a listening ear or some advice, as needed. This process is entirely at the direction of the youth/young person, who chooses the family with whom they would like to live, what goals they want to work toward, and of which additional supports they would like to take advantage. With the immediate stress of finding housing temporarily removed, youth are able to focus on other needs and work toward a more stable living situation and independent future.
The Process for Youth and Young Adults
The youth/young adult application process begins with the young person completing an application form with the assistance of a community partner organization (with whom the youth/young adult is already connected). This intake form helps Host Homes Cowichan better understand the youth/young adult's needs and interests when being matched with a host family. The youth/young adult will then meet with Host Homes Cowichan's Care Coordinator to discuss potential living situations, during which time, the youth/young adult will be presented with several host family profile options with whom they can choose to meet. This process is entirely at the direction of the youth/young adult and involves no pressure to agree to a match.
Once chosen, the youth/young adult will be accompanied by the Care Coordinator to meet the prospective host(s), after which time the youth/young adult may decide whether they would like to pursue the match. If chosen, and once the host(s) agree, a second meeting will occur, during which time the youth/young adult and host(s) will work cooperatively to create a living agreement, which will stipulate such things as culture, quiet hours, chores and so on. Additionally, the youth/young adult will work with the Care Coordinator to create a set of goals of any magnitude—whether it be returning home every night or pursuing education/employment—which they will strive to achieve during the duration of their match. One such priority that may be chosen, if the youth/young adult is interested, is to work toward family reunification with the their biological family, which the Host Homes
Cowichan program can help facilitate.
Once the living agreement is set, a move in plan will then be crafted and the match will begin. The youth/young adult will be in contact with the Care Coordinator as needed via phone, text and email, and can choose to end the agreement and leave the living situation at any point, if they wish. The youth/young adult will also have regular in-person meetings with the Care Coordinator to check in, review progress toward their goals, and gain access to various community supports and services, as desired and where eligible.
Throughout the youth/young adult's stay in a host home, it is hoped that along with living in a safe, caring home, youth/young adults will be able to build skills that help ease the transition to adulthood and lead to independent living. At the program's conclusion, youth/young adult participants will also fill out a survey about their experience in order to inform any program changes for the betterment of future matches.
If this sounds like a program that would be helpful to you or someone you know, please take the time to contact us at the following email so that we may provide you with the Youth/Young Adult Intake Form.