Goals and Objectives
To have a safe place where homeless teens can gather and receive a variety of supports to empower them to become self-sufficient and productive young people who are able to inspire and mentor other young people.
To create a centrally located Gathering Place where youth age 14-24 can access resources and services. Resources such as food, showers, laundry services, computer access to check email and print out resumes, and emergency housing would all be offered in one location. Services such as mediation, mental health screening, substance abuse screening and support, domestic violence support, medical care, access to dental consultation, and encouragement for continuing education or returning to school will be available. These services would be cooperative with other businesses/providers. Host Home Program utilizing families in the community who are foster care certified through a cooperative agreement with OCS would be available to receive youth who need more than emergency housing. Social worker who manages placement and coordination of host homes and youth who are being placed or receiving services would operate on-site at the Gathering Place. Caseworkers from other agencies could be utilized in cooperative agreements for youth who require multiple streams of support. Support meetings for AA, NA, Ala-non and similar groups would be welcome. Two to five year goal of a dormitory/transitional housing unit on site so that youth could continue working at the restaurant/gathering place, saving money, and continuing educational opportunities while staying connected to resources and support. Three to five year goal includes outreach services to include vans offering warm clothing, survival food packs and transportation to shelter, and a group of peer outreach volunteers to promote “Don’t Run Away” type programs in the community. The Gathering Place would (ideally) be a restaurant that would be open to the public and profitable. Service organizations such as the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs have expressed interest in utilizing such a place for their weekly meetings in a cooperative effort to support homeless youth. This would contribute to sustainability as well as offering visible awareness. Service organizations would have opportunities for mentoring youth through MY House. Restaurant would offer educational components that would train youth for jobs, and cooperative agreements with school programs and Job Corps could be in place to obtain school credit for: using a commercial fryer, commercial grill and commercial coffee equipment. Career Tech High School and Burchell High School both have indicated interest in expanding their programs to include restaurant-related courses. Other work experience opportunities on site would include snow removal, landscaping, security, hotel and restaurant management, and janitorial services. Youth utilizing housing would have the opportunity to obtain jobs at the restaurant, where part of their wages would be placed in a savings program to help them afford rent, transportation and continuing education once independence has been achieved. Scholarships may be offered through MY House to assist homeless youth with continuing education, to include training, education, transportation or tools necessary for success. Youth who are successful may be utilized as staff at the Gathering place, in a variety of roles to expand experience for employability and increase self-esteem. This could occur while residents and after becoming independent. Successful youth who are willing and able may become “guides”, volunteering for outreach and mentoring opportunities through the Gathering Place.
Core Purpose of MY House
To provide safe shelter for unaccompanied youth in the Matanuska Susitna Borough, with a goal of connecting kids to a network of caring individual and agencies able to assist them in becoming self-sufficient.
Our core values include: Advocacy, support, mediation/reconciliation, and assistance to become self-sufficient.
The MY House Vision
- Develop a MY House Outreach Center
- A gathering place, providing access to e-source, mediation/reconciliation services, as well as; educational, medical, and mental health referrals.
- Develop a variety of MY House housing solutions, including Host Homes in communities across the Valley.
- Support center for meeting hygiene, clothing, and nutrition needs.
- Develop and coordinate a variety of MY House youth housing solutions
- Host Homes, emergency dorm style housing, transitional housing, and Group home referrals.
- Reach out to Unaccompanied Youth in our Valley
- Work together to identify and seek solutions to current needs.
- Raise awareness, support, and coordinate services for Unaccompanied Youth in our Valley
- Work together with agencies and organizations in the Mat-Su Valley to identify and seek solutions to current needs of unaccompanied youth.
Clients of MY House According to the research that has been done by the Mat-Su Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, Matanuska-Susitna Valley is home to at least 300 unaccompanied homeless youth. The youth have no permanent address and have no responsible/supervising adult to whom they can relate. For shelter they regularly couch surf with their friends and acquaintances, live in makeshift shelters or camps, or sleep in vehicles. The majority of the unaccompanied youth that have been identified regularly attend public schools. Large concentrations are found in the alternative high schools. A significant number of the female homeless youth are either pregnant or single parents. There are undoubtedly numerous other unaccompanied youth as yet unidentified and not enrolled in a school