We’re always glad to see Connected Youth Initiative programs supporting driven young people in their journey to a new beginning!
Life is complex. During the pandemic, even more so. For some young people, finding the right resources can be difficult, especially as they transition into adulthood, especially if they are cut off from a supportive network.
Nebraska Children’s Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) provides statewide services and supports to help unconnected young people as they approach adulthood. Thanks to these young people’s resilience and a little assistance, CYI can help them set sail on smoother waters, again.
CYI began as a statewide expansion of Project Everlast Omaha’s successful model. CYI is a series of resources geared towards young people between the ages of 14-25 who may have experienced the foster care system, the juvenile justice and/or probation system, human trafficking, and homelessness.
We use the term “unconnected youth” to describe young people who don’t have a family support system. As believers that everyone needs a system of support, we love to hear stories about CYI participants’ success.
Project Everlast Omaha (part of the Connected Youth Initiative) worked with one driven young lady who needed a temporary residence and reprieve from homelessness, until the apartment she was approved for opened up.
While awaiting her permanent housing, this young lady continued to seek Central Navigation services. Central Navigation is a support that puts those seeking services in touch with the appropriate resources. This streamlined process entails a one-stop-shop in which participants complete one common information form and work with a Central Navigator, who can then connect them with a variety of resources in their own community.
Through her Central Navigation consultations, the young woman received some good news: she qualified for the hotel program through Project Everlast Omaha (PEO) and KAJ Hospitality. Project Everlast’s hotel program is a partnership that offers reduced rates to students and young people who have experienced housing insecurity because of the pandemic. This effort offers young people the opportunity to stay at the hotel for up to 30 days while working with a case manager to receive recommendations and references for stable housing.
Recently, PEO and Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership have teamed up to deliver weekly mobile food pantries to the hotels’ residents.
The young woman stayed at the hotel for the full 30 days, received pantries for food and hygiene items and scheduled a visit to Youth Mart with a PEO staff member for other hygiene, clothing, and essential items.
While staying at the hotel this young woman worked hard at her job. She qualified for a Support Service Fund through Project Everlast Omaha for a $100 deposit. A Nebraska Children program, Support Service Fund is designed to help youth who have experienced foster care by providing needs-based funds for things like housing expenses, utilities, transportation, education expenses, and other basic needs
This program, accessed through Central Navigation, can provide up to $750 within a 12-month period for young people between the ages of 16-25 years old whose needs are urgent and whose plans involved long-term stability.
In addition to obtaining her added support, best of all, the young woman eventually transitioned successfully into her long-term, stable housing!
The young woman issued the following statement, in her own words, about the services she received:
“My journey with Project Everlast was eventful after I had to move out last minute, but Aaron Weaver made sure I had everything I needed while I was technically homeless. They set me up with a hotel room for a little over a month. I was on a waitlist with my new apt and he made sure that I had food for the entire month being that I didn’t have a job at the time. He tried to help me with trying to find a job before I moved into my new place. Project Everlast helped me pay for my deposit on my rent as soon as I was ready to move in so that I didn’t have to use the rest of my money for it so that I was able to get some food and gas to make it to and from work. Aaron Weaver kept in touch even after I moved in to check up on me. I’m grateful that I had them to help me through this rough patch. I currently am living in my own place and I’m working on getting my second job. I couldn’t have done it without their support.”