Housing is one of the most immediate needs for youth who age out of the foster care system. As a result, young people aging out of the foster care system are becoming homeless at disconcerting rates. i.K.A.R.E. Global Institute offers a housing program to help participants navigate through life on their own and become self sufficient adults.
Through the i.K.A.R.E. - Georgia House Residential Program- along with an academic enrichment program, counseling and community education - we help participants gain skills to live independently and succeed on their own, but more importantly, to be capable of reaching their individual aspirations. The program is designed to provide affordable housing and comprehensive supportive services to assist in a successful transition from homelessness and out-of-home placement to independent living. The program targets male young adults (aged 18 – 24) who are homeless or have aged out of the foster care system, and who are not ready for independent living, and unable to live with relatives. Services are provided up to 24 months.
To be eligible for the program, one must meet the following criteria:
· Be between the ages of 18-24
· Homeless or have emancipated from out-of-home foster care
· Demonstrate maturity and readiness for independent living
· Attend a high school, GED program, junior college, vocational program
· Be committed to a drug and alcohol free lifestyle
· Agree to participate actively in individualized life skills plan development
At the time of admission, each participant will be oriented to the program, goals, rules and daily activities. Each participant will work on a variety of life skills necessary for independence. Acknowledgment shall be documented by signature receipt of the program handbook and orientation checklist. The i.K.A.R.E. - Georgia House Residential Program will offer the following services and training based on individual needs:
· Housing, food, clothng and 24 hour supervision
· Life skills training activities
· Case Management, including advocacy and referral services
· Develop career goals
· Seek and maintain employment
· Create and follow a budget
· Maintain a checking and savings account
· Learn respectful communication
· Utilize community resources for health care and transportation needs
· Plan meals using economical decisions and healthful eating guides
Trained professional staff not only provides continuous services, they also offer strong support and encouragement to help each resident understand and overcome personal challenges. Staff supervision is provided through an advisor model 24-hours a day. Staff to child ratios are maintained at a minimum of 1:6 at all times. The Executive Director is available for any emergency situations.
All staff shall be oriented to program policies, procedures and goals, trained in First Aid, CPR and behavior management techniques, and receive ongoing in-service training.
Recreational activities are planned and organized with input from the participants. All staff will strive to ensure each participant is introduced to new experiences within the community.
If not already enrolled, participants will enroll in the public school system and/or a vocational program. Our program recognizes that by empowering youth, aspirations can be realized. It may take a little guidance, but goals can be achieved and the routes that may have been impossible can become real. With this framework, participants have the opportunity to finish high school and transition into college in pursuit of a higher degree.
Individual counseling will be addressed through coordination with the participant and advisor.
Additionally, participants are required to be enrolled in i.K.A.R.E. - Transitional Program , which provides support services to include assistance with housing, a rent subsidy, case management, employment related services, educational advocacy, mentoring, post program housing assistance, and alumni services. All former and current participants remain in contact with program staff for support and follow-up as post emancipation is a critical stage of their success from dependency to independence.