Multicultural News

Housing complex opens for young people aging out of foster care

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Living in foster care is often a very unstable environment to grow up in.

For many young people, the stability continues well into adulthood. Dozens of young people face the threat of aging out with nowhere to go, but some won’t face that uncertainty.

Pando is a new supportive housing complex that will focus specifically on young people aging out of foster care.

It won’t take long to fill up all 30 units at the Pando Aspen Grove housing facility. Ten people have already moved in. Although it may look like an average apartment, there is more to it. It’s a safe space for central Indiana young people who will face homelessness after being in foster care.

“I’ve been going through for a long time,” said Praise Ferguson.

She lives at Pando and said she first entered entered the foster care system at 14. She’s 20 now but already knows what it’s like to have to sleep in her car or wonder where she could sleep.

“For them to actually take the time out and build these apartments, and actually put it together. Well, it makes you feel like you’re cared about,” she said.

Organizers said there are multiple agencies addressing youth homelessness, but this facility is the first of its kind solely for young people who’ve been in the foster care system.

“Do you have someone that maybe feels like there’s no way forward, they can’t reach their goals, they can’t reach their dreams?” said Barbara Walters with the Lutheran Child and Family Services. One of the agencies that is working to keep the program alive.

The units come with kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms. It’s fully furnished and set up like an apartment to help tenants transition into independent living. For many of the tenants moving in, they don’t have items like bedding, dishes. So they’ll get all of that here.

“So if we think of just hierarchy of needs our tenants have, basically (they’ve) been met,” said Angel Wallace, client engagement program manager.

In addition to the living space, tenants can participate in social events, economic services, and vocational opportunities.

Being here, Ferguson said, helps create a sense of community. “It’s easier to connect. I can feel that like when I walk into a room I felt it. These people have been through some thing that I’ve been through. So. you’re not a shy … you’re not scared to open up.”