This story originally appeared at Spotlight by Irene Markianou.
Have you ever wondered what becomes of teenagers who have aged out of foster care? Where do they live? How do they make a living? Well, Pivot Inc. wondered the same things, and, since the answers weren’t clear, they decided to do something about it.
And so they did. They built tiny homes right behind the Pivot offices in Oklahoma so that teenagers that live there can also visit them for advice and other services the organization offers, when they need it. The non-profit organization “advocates, educates, intervenes and counsels youth and families to make a positive difference in their lives.” With the help of volunteers, they put together and furnished tiny homes that are going to make a huge difference in these kids’ lives.
“Having a bed’s gonna be different,” says Carter, 19 years old. “I sleep on a couch right now, so I’ve a lot of back problems from it.”
Carter’s father is in prison and his mother died when he was 10 years old, so now that he has aged out of the foster care system, he is practically homeless. As he explains, he has been to a homeless shelter, from there he tried couch surfing for a while and, lately, he has been staying with his sister’s adoptive family. Similarly, there are hundreds of homeless teens transitioning to adulthood that have no safe place to stay.
It goes without saying that such instability only makes matters worse for young adults who don’t have a family to care for them and offer them the resources they need in order to grow into independent members of society. Therefore, this project offers them more than just a roof over their heads: it’s more about living by themselves, having to cope with day-to-day expenses and responsibilities, as well as learning critical life skills.
The tiny homes come for free for the first two months of stay and then the rent gradually increases, from $100 (2-4 months) to $150 if they get to stay there for more than six months. However, there is no cap on how long they can live there, giving them the chance to first stand up on their feet and then, when the time is right, move into their own place.
On the day of the ribbon-cutting, the President and CEO of the organization, Jennifer Goodrich, highlighted the importance of the services they already provide but explained that housing was missing.
“[We are] able to serve them in a way that, again, lets them show that they have the same talents, skills that any other young person in our community has,” Goodrich told journalists that covered the event.
It is really heart-warming to see that people care about these young members of society, who have been through a lot of rough experiences, and are willing to go above and beyond to see them grow independent and happy. According to Pivot, the next phase of the tiny homes is currently in permitting, and more construction will start soon.
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