Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC) is happy to announce it has received a $200,000 grant from Dogwood Health Trust. This grant will help the nonprofit establish a Transitional Living Program for young people aging out of foster care in Buncombe County, North Carolina.
Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of 18 counties, including McDowell, and the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina.
In the last five years, over 2,300 young people in North Carolina have transitioned out of foster care with no permanent family connections, with 70 of those in Buncombe County.
The Transitional Living Program will create a network of licensed host homes and support services for young people, ages 15 to 21, who have been foster care recipients and need independent living skills as they successfully shift to adulthood.
Countless studies show that young people who have been in foster care are more likely to experience homelessness, unemployment, poverty, unplanned pregnancies, and incarceration compared with their peers who have not been in foster care. This is often related to the trauma they have experienced in their lives and the lack of resources, supportive relationships, and access to opportunities they need to thrive.
The program will change the trajectory of these young people’s lives by providing safe, stable housing and an LSC Independence Coach who will help them address their immediate emotional, behavioral, and physical health needs; build independent living skills; connect to resources and employment; and establish support networks.
“Lutheran Services Carolinas is humbled to serve where the need is greatest thanks to the partnership with the Dogwood Health Trust,” LSC President and CEO Ted Goins said. “This grant will allow foster children to ease successfully into adulthood and independence. Our vision since 1960 has been an abundant life for every person.”
The Independence Coach will work closely with the young people and their host family to build independent living skills, address emotional and behavioral challenges, and develop resiliency and coping skills.
They will also provide Customized Employment services to program participants. Customized Employment is a person-centered approach to creating employment for individuals by thoroughly assessing their strengths and interests and building strong relationships with local employers, such as the Trinity View senior living community in Arden, an affiliate of LSC.
The Transitional Living Program will launch in Buncombe County in 2022.
For more information on Dogwood Health Trust, visit https://dogwoodhealthtrust.org/