LIFE Skills by the numbers
LIFE Skills has been providing housing and wraparound supports for transition age youth for eight years in a variety of settings. We began housing transition age youth in the first of our newly renovated apartment building in August, 2015, and added a second apartment building in spring, 2016. During this time, we housed and/or provided rent assistance for 25 youth. Because becoming independent is about much more than housing, we also provided 44 transition age youth with counseling and wraparound supports and more than 100 with independent living skills classes.
Like most people moving towards independence, the transition age youth we serve have complex individual needs. However, many lack the traditional family supports available to other young adults into their twenties and beyond. LIFE Skills provides the missing supports our clients need including taking them to the doctor, helping them shop and budget, making sure they get to school, helping them open a bank account, encouraging them to graduate and challenging them to plan and save for the future. Some of the wraparound supports we provide seem like small things, but they add up. For example, during the 2105-16 fiscal year, we provided 720 meals and 1400 bus passes to help our clients stay healthy, get to work and attend classes.
Connecting our clients with the services and supports they need requires a wide range of partners. No one organization can do it all! Here are some of our many partners helping transition age youth:
EMPLOYMENT and job readiness
HEALTH, WELLNESS AND COUNSELING
Health etc. cont.
LEGAL AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS
WE HOST TERRIFIC INTERNS FROM:
Street Outreach and Beyond
LIFE Skills has brought together a group of service providers and other partners to establish a collaboratively staffed Young Adult Resource Center (YARC). This free daytime resource center will be open to any homeless or housing insecure young adult. They will be able to shower, eat, receive clothing and toiletries, meet with mental health or other needed coordinators of service, and receive help in securing housing, education, employment and other assistance with the transition to being on their own. Read more about this exciting project on the YARC page.
It is challenging to put numbers on the changes we see at LIFE Skills. However, it is important for both staff and clients to be able to chart those changes. In early 2016, we began quantitatively assessing the six areas that research shows are critical for young people to succeed at living independently. These areas are employment, education, housing, finances, health and support networks. Each area is scored on a scale of 1-5 with 30 being the highest combined score. We now have three data points for 17 of our clients: January, April and September, 2016. While some clients progressed and others faced setbacks during this time, the trend is encouraging. The total score for all clients showed a net increase of 188 points, with an average net gain of 7 points per client. No matter where you begin or how you look at it, 7 steps on the diagram below represents a lot of change!
Each point in the six areas below represents a major step on the ladder to independence.
How Your Donations Help
The systems designed for adults and children often leave transition age youth out in the cold. For those aging out of foster care, turning 18 can mean homelessness and insecurity. LIFE Skills provides a safe and supportive place where youth can get the skills they need to transition to independence. We envision a future where no young people have to struggle to find a place to sleep or enough to eat. The reality is that LIFE Skills must turn away more youth than we serve. With the number of Durham youth in foster care rising rapidly, this situation is only going to get worse. Every donation makes a difference!