Project 16:49, in collaboration with ECHO, has expanded its services to now offer Rapid Rehousing to youth experiencing homelessness in Rock and Walworth Counties.
This new program is part of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, a nationwide initiative to end youth homelessness in communities across the country. The program provides 24 months of rent assistance, case management and supportive services. Participants create personalized goal plans to achieve self-sufficiency and work toward becoming independent young adults.
Our first participant in the program is 20-year-old Taylor. She and her 3-year-old son Riley have been on the housing assistance wait list for over 270 days and were homeless for over a year. Once Taylor was enrolled in our program, it took nearly three months to find affordable housing and a landlord willing to participate. During this time, Taylor and Riley couch hopped, stayed in basements and finally in a motel. Project 16:49’s case manager maintained regular contact to provide basic needs assistance and general support, as well as identification of other resources and referrals that would be needed once they were housed.
We are excited to share that ECHO’s housing navigator was able to help Taylor secure an
apartment. Project 16:49’s staff coordinated Taylor’s move-in on February 3. This is the first time she has had a place to call her own, and the first time Riley has had his own room and his own bed. Project 16:49 and ECHO utilized in-kind donations received from the community to furnish and stock the apartment with the things Taylor and Riley needed to get started, including furniture, cleaning supplies, small appliances and bedding.
For the first time in over a year, Taylor and Riley were able to enjoy a fully home-cooked meal rather than rely on microwaved or pre-made foods. She made fish and spaghetti, her favorite dish. Now that they have a place to call home, Taylor is excited to find employment and get Riley enrolled in Head Start, and complete her high school education. She told us that she hopes to use her first paycheck to buy Riley some new cars and a galaxy night light for his bedroom.