From Foster Care to Secure Housing: How Vouchers Help Young Adults Build Self-Sufficiency

The number of adults living at home is at an all-time high, with about 45% of people ages 18 to 29 reporting they stay at their parents’ home largely because the nationwide affordable housing shortage makes it too expensive for many young adults to move out. It’s a workable solution for many—particularly those who don’t mind hanging out with mom and dad. But for the more than 20,000 adolescents transitioning out of foster care annually, it’s a different story. 

“[T]he affordable housing crisis is having a huge impact on young adults nationally—leading to many staying with their family of origin for a longer period of time, as a safety net and/or to build up savings,” Sharon McDonald, senior advisor to the chief policy officer at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, said in an email to Route Fifty. And when they are ready to leave the nest, “they often have help with that first apartment, including help with security deposit, rent and accessing furniture.”

But adolescents leaving foster care, generally from ages 18 to 21, “typically don’t have this luxury, so the challenges they face are often without the back-up that other young adults may have, and the consequences thus are more severe,” she said. A missed rent payment, for example, can push a former foster kid into homelessness.


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