February 22, 2021

Refugee Foster Care Launches Independent Living Plus House

Since the 1970’s Catholic Community Services’ Refugee Foster Care program has been working to set unaccompanied refugee minors up for success as they begin a new chapter in the United States.  

Historically, that has been done by placing the youth in foster homes with loving families, and later assisting them in the transition to independent living in an apartment of their own.  

In March, the Refugee Foster Care program will be opening a transitional facility to assist the youth as they progress from living with a foster family to living independently.  

This facility, The Independent Living Plus House, will allow the youth to press into the skills needed to live on their own before being confronted with the challenges head on.  CCS will be renting a duplex, one side for males and one side for females, in which the youth can live for six months to a year before moving into an apartment of their own.  

“A lot of our youth really struggle with moving into an apartment, so this is a safe place for them to practice those independent living skills, save money, and really make that transition well,” said Refugee Foster Program Manager Erica Astle.  

While living in the house, youth will partake in a more intensive version of the agency’s already established Transition to Adult Living curriculum. This curriculum includes educating the youth on topics like public transportation, health insurance, making doctor’s appointments, and financial literacy. Youth are also mentored through things like interpersonal skills, how to cohabitate with roommates, and conflict resolution.  

The house will also be staffed with mentors who will guide the youth and offer emotional support during their time in the house. 

“Another part of this dream that was really important for me was hiring as many people as possible who used to be in the program. So that’s what we’ve done,” Astle said. “I’m so happy to have them. I feel like having someone who looks like them, speaks their language, who’s been in the program, to mentor them is so impactful.” 

Youth are expected to move into the Independent Living Plus house the week of March 1st.  

One way to support the launch of the Independent Living Plus house is by donating necessary supplies. View the ILP Amazon Wishlist to donate here. The home is also seeking the donation of a stackable dryer.