The program helps homeless youth find temporary shelter.
Frederick, Md (KM) A program that provides temporary shelter for homeless youth is back. The Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership is revising the THRIVE Host Home network which places “young people who are in need of shelter. Anyone from age 18 to 22 who were essentially homeless, and needing a place of stability for a period of time. We were placing them in our THRIVE Host Home Network,” says SHIP Executive Director Ed HInde.
The program, which was launched last year, provides a home for about one to six months for homeless youth while they access support services to help them become self sufficient.
Hinde says the program was suspended in March, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We decided at that point in time to not work to place any more youth. in spite of the fact that’ there’s still need,” he says. “But just given the safety concerns around the pandemic, we felt as they we had to take a pause.”
Some safety precautions have been put in place to protect both the young people and their host families from COVID-19. “We feel as through with the right procedures in place and the understanding between the young person and their host, that they monitor themselves in a way that they can work to protect the family and vice versa”, Hinde says.
That includes social distancing, and wearing a mask. “Right now, with the program reopening, we’re asking young people to make sure they’re tested. We want to reassure the host family that the young person they’re bringing into their home for a period of time is safe,” he says.
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hinde says the problem of homelessness among young people is serious. “If you look at the number of young as students who experienced homelessness this past school year, it was up over the year prior by 10% to 12%, and we’re right at 1,000 students within the Frederick County School System that were homeless before the pandemic,” he says.
But there is some good news. Hinde says THRIVE recently received a $300,000 Focus Grant from the Ausherman Family Foundation for the next five years. “They are significant supporters of the program. They understand the need. They understand the issues in the community. I can’t say enough about their wonderful support,”:he says.
Anyone who wants to volunteer to be a host family for one of these young people can go on line to www.shipfrederick.com/thrive, or call SHIPs; main number at 240-415-8971. Unaccompanied youth who also want information on the program can go to the same webpage or call 240-215-3465.
By Kevin McManus