OneHome Youth Meeting Discusses Loneliness, New Housing Opportunities
The September meeting of OneHome Youth providers reported that they have housed 26 youth with another 4 having identified units in the PSH Bonus Project, out of a targeted 33 units.
They addressed the loneliness that can beset recently rehoused youth. Even after a someone experiencing homelessness is successfully housed, challenges remain. One of those is a sense of loneliness that can particularly affect younger people. Newly housed individuals can find themselves in an unfamiliar neighborhood, surrounded by strangers, which can only make a period of adjustment more difficult. OneHome Youth discussed ways of facilitating added human contact for youth and smoothing their transition into a new community. Hobbies and social activities were suggested as ideal means of doing so, whether they’re organized (such as at the Bannock Youth Center) or something less formal, such as attendance at a Meet Up group or helping someone obtain a Parks and Rec pass. For many newly housed youth, being aware of social resources in their new neighborhood is an important way to make sure they stay housed.
The group also discussed ways of obtaining non-youth specific housing for youth. One way that was discussed was repurposing unoccupied adult units, especially studios. This could be ideal for youth, as a downtown location and a smaller living space might even be more acceptable to them than adults. Also, it was noted that living with a large number of adults could provide youth the opportunity to develop important social skills, like adapting to life with a roommate and integrating into a diverse living community. One potential problem with such a strategy, though, concerns the specific prioritization criteria that have been agreed upon for each population. Often the characteristics that lead to a high prioritization in one group can be completely different for another, such as older vs. younger priorities. In order to ensure fairness, some way of resolving disparities between groups needs to be developed, such as counting the number of prioritization characteristics met rather than the characteristics themselves. The OneHome team is reviewing how to integrate a system more seamlessly across populations and helping create a transition opportunity for youth aging eligible for adult resources.
The next meeting of the OneHome Youth group will be held at 1 pm at Urban Peak on October 27th.