Transitional Living Program: Robyn’s House and WYSH House

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What is WFC’s Transitional Living Program?

WFC’s Transitional Living Program provides short term housing to homeless and unstably housed youth. Unlike other programs, WFC’s Transitional Living Program is not a short-term shelter or group home, but a low barrier 18-month program that will help empower them to make choices in the best interest of their safety, well-being and future selves.

We do this through Positive Youth Development which says that through the support of caring adults, programs like Robyn’s House and WYSH House, the youth gain a sense of confidence, trust, and practical knowledge. These are all qualities that will help them grow up happy, healthy, and self-sufficient. When society harnesses the positive energy and initiative of youth, good things happen. Youth believe that they can be successful, engage in productive activities that build job and life skills and reinforce community connections.

The Project REACH staff provides services that help runaway and homeless youth overcome their current situation and thrive on their own. Services provided include:

  • Individualized Case Management Plans for young adults, including initial assessment
  • Individual, group and family short term supportive counseling
  • Referrals and service linkages
  • Exit planning, including referral and linkage to independent housing and support systems
  • Educational support
  • Service learning and recreational opportunities
  • Aftercare as young adults move from homelessness to a more independent, safe and stable environment

Robyn’s House

Robyn’s House was a vision to help end homelessness in young adults. Robyn’s House is the only program in the Meriden, Wallingford, Middlesex region currently serving runaway, on the street, and homeless young people. Robyn’s House is a coed facility with 6 beds in our Meriden facility. There are 2 Single bed rooms and 2 Double bed rooms.

Requirements:

  • Ages 18 to 22 years old
  • Unstably Housed
  • In School, Looking for a job or Working
  • Strong Commitment to work hard
  • Follow Guidelines and Policies

Robyn’s House is not a shelter or group home. It is an 18-month program that requires a strong commitment to work hard. In addition to being in school, working or both, the youth will have a Case Manager that they will see once a week. There will be a curfew, chores, and life skills workshops that are mandatory. Robyn’s House has all the resources for the youth to succeed. It is a youth driven program that focuses on the youth achieving their goals.

WYSH House

WYSH House is the newest addition to the Transitional Living Program and is currently being built next to the facility in Meriden, CT. WYSH will help us to expand on what we’ve been able to do with Robyn’s House. To learn more about the WYSH House project, please click here.

WFC’s Transitional Living Program Process

WFC’s Transitional Living Program is a low barrier entry for youth who need help finding stable and safe housing options. Regardless of whether they end up at Robyn’s House, each person in need of help will going through the assessment process and get their needs meet.

To help understand that process, below is an overview of what at-risk youth will receive in terms of services and the steps to get help.

1. Assessing Need

Most of the Youth will come to us through the 2-1-1 system set up by United Way of Connecticut. The 2-1-1 operator will set up appointments with our Youth Housing Navigator to assess their overall situation and short-term / long-term needs.

When they meet with the Youth Housing Navigator, they will discuss what natural support systems the youth already has in place and what is missing. This is a one-time assistance to see what resources are already available to the youth or if they have to be housed in WFC’s programs or to find other programs for them.

The Youth Housing Navigator’s goal is to ensure that individuals and families can access the help and information they need including: basic needs assistance, mental health services, transportation resources, housing resources, utility payment help, employment assistance, information on volunteer opportunities and more.

2. When Housed Here

If the youth is placed at WFC’s housing programs, then they will have 24×7 access to WFC staff that will help them through getting their basic needs meet and how to learn life skills and in the long run be able to thrive on their own. They will be assigned a Case Manager that will meet with them once a week to talk through their goals and needs and help them find the right services and support.

Monetary donations allow us to meet our funding obligations. Our program is funded through federal programs that require us to match a portion of our federal funding with cash donations. Donating your money allows us to maintain our day to day operations, pay for our facilities of Robyn’s House, and hire case managers, outreach specialists and counselors. We are able to build a better future for our youth by taking them from unstable and unsafe environment to having a chance to learn and achieve skills necessary to become independent adults. Help us to end homelessness one individual, one family, one community at a time.

Move in:

After the youth have agreed to the programs guidelines and policies it is time to move in. It is important that they feel welcomed and safe. We will then assist them with the basic needs (toiletries and food) and let them get settled in their rooms. If they do not have State Insurance or SNAP, we will do that immediately with them. They connect with the Case manager after a couple of days of being settled in.

  • Given room which is Coed by gender
  • Shared living environment (kitchen, entertain area, bathrooms) with other residents
  • Assessment to how best to provide support
  • Address Health needs – check up and health insurance
  • Address Nutritional needs – apply for SNAP (Food stamps)
    • We don’t provide them food, but show them how to get resources.
  • Address Mental Health needs – Counseling if needed
  • Address Employment / Education needs:
    • School transportation
    • Work with them on how to stay employed
    • Refer them to Open DOHR for career development
    • Discussion of what they need to think about once they get a job
  • General Life Skills
    • Taxes, food shopping and show them how to do things they haven’t learned
  • House rules:
    • Chores – Facilities are cleaned every day by residents
    • Curfews which differ for each person based on how long they have been in the program
    • Pre-approved Visitors are allowed, but there are no overnight stays
    • Children are allowed to visit, but children are not allowed to live at the facility

Building ongoing relationships and trust:

From there the Case Manager will work on the youth’s service plan and design life skills workshops based on the youth’s personal needs. Communication and building positive, trustworthy and supportive relationships is the key to success.

Case Management weekly meetings might include:

  • Basic Needs
  • Clear and concise expectations
  • Intake, Assessment & Service Plan
  • Structure and routine
  • One a week case meeting
  • Once a week group and individual workshops

“Relationships that drives their success”

3. Aftercare: What happens when they leave?

A part of the Case Manager’s responsibilities is to create an exit plan to prepare the youth for when they leave the facility when their program is over. The Case Manager will determine the permanent long-term support with the youth in the following areas:

Service plans (permanent support connections)

  • Housing (safe and stable housing)
  • Health (improve social and emotional well-being)
  • Employment / education (connect to)

Once the youth does leave the facility, the Case Manager will keep in touch with them to provide a healthy supportive resource for them. They have meetings once a month up to a year after exiting the program to ensure that they are being successful.

 For more information about housing, call Carissa @ 203-235-9297, ext. 1126 or call/text at 203-427-5778

If you are in need of immediate shelter, please call 211.

Funding for this project is generously provided by: Administration for Children and Families, City of Meriden, and United Way of Meriden-Wallingford.

Click to learn more about the organizations below:

WFC Project REACH Program Resources: