The Coast News Group
Community Community News Vista

Transitional housing for young adults in foster care recognized

VISTA — North County Lifeline is set to open its second LifeSpring transitional housing facility for young adults who have exited foster care and need a hand up.

The San Diego Housing Federation recognized North County Lifeline in late April for partnering with Community HousingWorks to provide housing and support services at the soon-to-open North Santa Fe Apartments.

Donald Stump, North County Lifeline executive director, said the city of Vista was also instrumental in establishing the apartment complex that will house transitional young adults and other low-income residents. The city donated the land where the apartments are being built from the ground up, and earmarked Community Development Block Grant funds for the housing.

The apartments are near completion and will be open in July. Ten units scattered throughout the 68-unit complex will house transitional young adults.

Across the street from the apartments is North County Lifeline’s first transitional housing facility for foster care young adults. LifeSpring house is a five-bedroom home that opened two years ago. Two residents are ready to graduate from the program and live independently.

Social services refers young adults to the LifeSpring program, which assists those ages 18 to 24.

The program supports young adults with a case manager to teach participants life skills; a resident advisor to serve as a mentor; and a counselor to help them through the challenges of young adulthood.

Stump said a lot has been learned from running the first housing facility, chiefly that the men in the program would prefer their own apartments.

Stump said most try living on their own, but find they cannot make it with limited education and lack of experience and guidance.

He added without a parent from birth to encourage them and help them make wise choices, it takes a lot of work to get these young adults back on track.

Statistics posted on the North County Lifeline website state that after aging out of foster care, 51 percent of young adults are unemployed, 40 percent are homeless and 20 percent are imprisoned.

“Many are so tired of being controlled and being a ward they try to make it on their own, but they don’t have a support system,” Stump said. “They don’t realize the county social worker is their support system.

“In North County, we’re getting closer and closer to meeting the needs.”

North County Lifeline will continue to provide support for young adults at both housing facilities. The apartment units will also allow young women to be housed and supported.

Stump said countywide there remains a shortage of transitional housing for the 200 young adults per year who transition out of the foster care system.