VISTA — A ribbon cutting ceremony April 1 marked the completion of renovations on Life Spring House and a positive start for five young men.The men will to be the first residents of the transitional home for youth who have aged out of Foster Care Services.
The transitional all-men house was opened by North County Lifeline. The organization saw a need for transitional services for Foster Care youth.
Countywide there is a waiting list of hundreds of young adults in need of transitional services.
“The need is there for sure,” Alexis Parker, executive director of HomeAid, said. “They are expected to live on their own and be self-sufficient, but haven’t had life skills.”
Selection of the first five residents will be made by interviewing men ages 18 to 24 on the Child Welfare waiting list and selecting five who are highly motivated to pursue education, work and independent living.
Mayor Judy Ritter said Life Spring House reflects the city’s mission of providing services that lead to self-sufficiency.
The transitional house will provide a balance of independent living, and guidance in the responsibilities of adulthood.
Each young man will sign a lease agreement and pursue program goals during their two-year stay.
They will be given a small starter allowance and be expected to pay monthly rent on a sliding scale equal to about one-third of their income.
Part of the rent payment will go into a savings account and be returned to the young man when he moves out on his own.
“The goal is independent living,” Don Stump, executive director of North County Lifeline, said. “It is not a group home. It’s a shared living experience.”
A case manager will meet with the young men Monday through Friday to help them set and reach goals, connect with resources, and teach them life and relationship skills. Stump describes support services as things “parents might have done.”
The transition house is located across the street from the North County Lifeline service center where the men can receive career planning, job hunting and financial management services.
A resident advisor will check in with the men after 7 p.m. and on weekends.
“We will not let them fail,” Stump said.
The furnished house has four bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, bathroom, two staff offices and an outdoor area. There is also an independent living suite in the house with its own entrance, bath and kitchen.
The building was owned by North County Lifeline and previously used as office space. After staff identified the need for a transitional house, fundraising began and renovations of the house soon followed. The process took about three years, with renovations completed in one year.
“We sought funding from all sources,” Stump said. “This little house took a village to put together.”
Key contributors included HomeAid San Diego, Hallmark Communities, Supervisor Bill Horn, Neighborhood Improvement Funds, and BIA Cares.
“Giving back to the community is what it’s all about,” Mike Hall, president of Hallmark Communities, said.
North County Lifeline plans to open additional transitional houses in the future.