My First Place

About This Program

Target Population: Foster youth ages 16-23 who are, or are at-risk of, becoming homeless (i.e., transition-aged youth [TAY])

For children/adolescents ages: 16 – 23

Program Overview

The My First Place program is designed to assist transition-aged foster youth who are (or at risk of) becoming homeless safely along the path from foster care to successful adulthood. It consists of a supportive housing program, an academic enrichment program, counseling, youth community center, and collaboration with other organizations. The program promotes choices and aims to strengthen individual and community resources.

Program Goals

The goal of the My First Place program is:

  • Obtain the skills necessary to live independently and succeed on one's own

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for My First Place.

Essential Components

The essential components of My First Place include:

  • Economic Literacy: Prior to moving into an apartment, all My First Place participants must attend a three-week intensive training class. Numerous skills needed for independence are addressed and honed in a project-based curriculum format. Financial literacy, relationships, employment, and social skills are addressed in the 20-hour course. Youth receive a stipend of $10/hour.
  • Access to a First Place for Youth's Apartment: Once youth have graduated the Economic Literacy class, they are eligible to live in a studio, one bedroom, or two-bedroom scattered-site apartment. After the 24-month program has ended, youth are eligible to retain the lease on the apartment and assume full responsibility for paying rent on the unit.
  • Monthly Rental Subsidy: Each month for 24 months, the participants are assisted in the payment of their rent. When youth enter the My First Place program, they pay 30 percent of the market rate rent and the program pays the remainder. As their participation in the program continues, participants pay an increasingly greater percentage of the market-rate rent for the unit.
  • Weekly Youth Advocacy: Youth meet weekly with their Youth Advocate (Case Manager) to discuss the specific steps that they are taking to meet their individual goals. These can be in the areas of employment, health, education, financial management, and personal relationships.
  • Monthly Community Building Events: Monthly community-building events help to decrease the level of isolation youth experience during the transition from foster care to independence.
  • Move-In Assistance: Participants receive assistance when they move into their apartment. The program pays for the cost of a rental truck, and staff members assist each client with their move and spend part of the day acclimating the youth to their new neighborhood. Essential furniture items (e.g., mattress, dresser, lamps, etc.) are given to help furnish the apartment.
  • Move-In Stipend: The program awards a $200 move-in stipend to all participants who successfully complete Economic Literacy and move into a program apartment. This stipend is offered in order to help offset the costs of other household purchases such as linens and kitchenware.
  • Monthly Food Stipend: Many youth barely have enough money to pay their rent, let alone buy healthy food. Through My First Place, single youth participants receive a $70 grocery voucher (mothers and pregnant youth receive a $100 grocery voucher) to a local grocery store on a monthly basis.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

My First Place directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Living in foster care and at risk of becoming homeless or aged out of foster care and already homeless

Recommended Intensity:

Youth meet at least once per week with a Youth Advocate (Case Manager). Weekly support groups are also available.

Recommended Duration:

Up to 24 months

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

  • One Youth Advocate for every 12-15 housed clients
  • One Housing Manager for every county served to secure apartments and act as liaison with property owners
  • Resources such as food vouchers, move-in stipend, and move-in support
  • Classroom for economic literacy trainings and transition support groups
  • Emergency pager for youth to reach staff
  • Cell phones for all staff to be used in emergencies
  • Workshop materials and supplies

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Youth Advocates require a BA, ideally an MSW or MA, in a related field to help focus on Mental Health and Substance Abuse issues more effectively. A clean driving record is required since they transport the youth often.

Housing Managers require a BA and experience being part of a management team. Members of the Housing Staff require a background in fair housing laws, property management, and affordable housing.

Program Managers require an MSW, supervision experience, background in working with at-risk youth, housing, and a strong clinical background

Manual Information

There is not a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Via phone consultation

Number of days/hours:

Informal training/consultation is available to those who are interested.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for My First Place.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for My First Place.

Contact Information

Aron Sumii
Agency/Affiliation: First Place for Youth
Website: www.firstplaceforyouth.org/our-work/what-we-do/first-place
Email:
Phone: (510) 272-0979
Fax: (510) 272-9303

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2024

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: December 2023

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: September 2006