WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Most states stop supporting young people in foster homes once they turn 18 — and too many of these young men and women end up unemployed and homeless.
But a new million-dollar federal program is designed to provide affordable housing, as well as job and life skills to these young adults.
When Suzan Nambi turned 18, losing her eligibility for foster care, she says she found herself homeless and alone. She says she didn’t know how to apply for college or a job.
“Foster care didn’t tell me any of that,” says Suzan.
Suzan is one of 20,000 teenagers who age out of the foster care system every year — and about 25% end up homeless.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson says they’ve launched a new federal housing initiative called Foster Youth to Independence.
The program helps former foster children ages 18 to 24 find an affordable place to live and teaches them job prep and life skills.
Darla Bardine with the National Network for Youth says the need is so great, the program is expanding to 10 more cities.
“We don’t want young people to spend one day homeless in this country,” says Bardine.
Meanwhile, Suzan says for the first time since she left foster care, she has a safe place to call home.
“When I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness!” she says. “Is this all my own space?”