Home Works USA

Affordable Rental Housing for Emerging Adults

Escalating housing costs can dwarf the earning power of many emerging adults. Traditional solutions such as multiple roommates and financial support from family are not always available, especially for young people who have been involved with the foster care system.

More than 500,000 children are in foster care in the U.S. annually. Tens of thousands of young people “age out” of foster care every year—often with few options of where to live next. With limited alternatives, many become homeless or involved with the criminal justice system.

Affordable rental housing can be a launching pad to financial independence for emerging adults. As they improve their earning capacity through education, training, work experience, or entrepreneurial ventures, they can transition to adulthood at a pace and in ways that work for them. When affordable housing is combined with essential community supports, young adults are more likely to thrive.

Home Works USA will provide affordable rental housing along with community supports for emerging adults leaving foster care. Our aim is to pilot and refine this model locally, then bring it to scale nationally

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Home Works USA Pilot Program

The “Scott Place” on Chieftain Road near Lawrence, Kansas has been a sanctuary for children and emerging adults since the early 1900’s. When Franklin and Phoebe Watkins acquired the property, they continued the tradition of providing a safe and welcoming home where generations were lovingly supported from childhood to adulthood. The great-granddaughters of Hattie Scott—Barbara Sabol, and Sonya Johnson—now own this homestead. They are continuing their family legacy by making the land available as the pilot site for Home Works USA.

The Home Works USA pilot will provide 15 affordable rental housing units, using a green design that provides a compact living space in a footprint of 300 to 400 square feet. Each unit will house a single individual, who will be able to rent at a fixed rate until they are ready to take their next step in life. Home Works USA anticipates these emerging adults will stay for about two years, before graduating to market-based housing.

The units will be clustered in three groups of five units. All 15 units will share common spaces and facilities designed to support social connectedness, sustain relationships, and access to necessary services. Residents will have access to health care, and other services and amenities in nearby Lawrence and neighboring cities, including the Kansas City Metropolitan area and Topeka.

Phase Two of the Project Plan

Home Works USA is seeking financial support for the second phase of this project, which includes engineering design and permitting. This planning and permitting period is estimated to take about 12 months.

Outcomes of this phase will include a final project budget, all necessary permits to proceed with construction, a work plan and timeline for project completion, and funding to support next steps.

For more about Home Works USA, contact Frankie Foster Davis (ffosterdavis@gmail.com).

 

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