Aged out foster care children get much needed housing assistance

caines | 6/6/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Anchorage Apartments opens in Liberty City Life for foster children often consists of being bounced from one home to another. Even those lucky enough to find a foster home and family with whom they feel comfortable, never know how long that relationship will last. Whats more, when children reach 18, they no longer qualify for foster care and are often put out on their own, regardless of whether they are ready to take care of themselves or not. To help these youth deal with the challenging effects of aging out of foster care, a new 22-unit apartment building was recently opened in Liberty City. Anchorage Apartments [2320 NW 62nd Street] will devote nine of its units to youth that were formerly in foster care. The other units will be available to working families and individuals making between 50 and 60 percent of the Area Median Income. The Apartments were build by Carlisle Development Group and were prompted by urgings from County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. At one point my office was hit with an influx of youth and many of them were homeless young adults with no where to go, she said. The County had been granted NSP dollars through the Hope 6 expansion project and we had property available. So, we used $5 million of the expansion money in order to begin this project aimed towards building housing for foster children that were aged out of the system. Carlisle put in an additional $1 million dollars. In summary, we entered into a public-private partnership. Edmonson says she has met with some of the youth and is totally convinced that this was the right decision to make. I just wish we had had enough money to build a larger apartment, she said. We have not helped these youth in the past like we should have, but this time were doing the right thing providing social services that will teach them how to survive on their own while giving them a place to live that they can afford. While the Anchorage Apartments will provide affordable housing, stability and a possible springboard to self-sufficiency for youth aging out of the system, there are still so many others out there who deserve the same opportunity, said Matthew Greer, CEO of Carlise. Carlisle will continue working toward serving that population. This is the kind of project that is incredibly rare. But with the support of Commissioner Edmonson, as well as Our Kids, we all came to the conclusion that these youth without families, some without jobs and others without the needed education to sustain themselves, deserved a chance to better equip themselves for the future. Now services can be provided to them much easier because they all live in the same complex in an environment that is safe and close to public transportation. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com