Columbus City Council dedicated $5.6 million to help with housing teens transitioning out of foster care.
They entered into a contract with the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County to make financial assistance available as grants to homeowners, home-buyers, renters, for-profit and non-profit organizations to increase the local supply of decent, safe and sanitary housing and decrease the number of vacant properties in Columbus.
Star House Columbus is an organization that will benefit from this contract.
They plan to turn two vacant motels into 100 affordable, efficiency apartments for at-risk teens, transitioning out of foster care.
Tannie Bush was in foster care from the age of 11 to 18. She said once she became a legal adult, things changed.
“When you turn 18, it’s a whole different world,” said Bush. “Foster care kind of shelter you from a lot of things. So, when you get to the real world, it’s like oh my God, what am I supposed to do? Where am I supposed to go? Who’s going to help me?”
She says those are questions several teens ask when they age out of foster care. Bush says teens in foster care don’t have the parents to rely on when they transition into adulthood and relying one of their previous foster parents is hit or miss.
“It just depends on where you went some didn’t care, some did.”
Bush says she tries to talk to other teens who are experiencing the same transition she did.
The City of Columbus and organizations like Star House Columbus hope they can provide relief for teens who are being thrown into the real world with no safety net, like Bush.
“You don’t have a caseworker or a case manager to say well I’m going to get your baby this or I’m going to get you this,” said Bush.
Star House Columbus says once complete the apartments will also offer in-demand industry credential options and careers, resources like mental and physical health care, transportation, and intentional social connections through mentoring and opportunities to engage in the Franklinton community.