1.7 million youth are homeless & alone in the U.S. annually.
Sleeping in cars, abandoned buildings, parks, on friend’s couch or in stranger’s homes in exchange for sex, across America, aspirational teens are unhoused, not living with a parent or guardian, and not in foster care. These unaccompanied homeless youth face countless barriers to evade chronic homelessness as adults. At Starting Right, Now (SRN), we are ending youth homelessness through a holistic approach, one child at a time. Unaccompanied homeless youth in SRN become self-sufficient and contributing community members. Be inspired by our impact and donate to help us end youth homelessness!
End the Cycle
“Let myself, and every Starting Right, Now graduate, serve as proof – we can end the cycle of homelessness, and achieve greatness, one child at a time.” – SRN Alumnus
For over 15 years Starting Right, Now
has been removing barriers for unaccompanied homeless youth.
of SRN youth have graduated high school
of alumni have completed or are completing college.
of SRN alumni are in a career with benefits.
Laws amended or co-authored to reduce barriers
What We Do
Starting Right, Now, empowers unaccompanied homeless youth to become self-sufficient citizens, breaking the cycle of generational homelessness and poverty. This includes long-term housing for homeless independent minors as well as holistic and personalized care for each young person to ensure they do not become chronically homeless adults. Our comprehensive model includes:
How we help our youth:
Starting Right, Now youth live in our long-term housing facility which provides resources for food, water, hygiene, rest, and safety, as well as opportunities to model life skills.
Social Services and Healthcare Access
Starting Right, Now youth are guided through enrollment for Food Stamps and Medicaid. SRN helps youth manage preventative healthcare, including mental health, and provides transportation to appointments.
Starting Right, Now monitors academic progress, including arranging tutoring and credit recovery, to help youth complete high school. SRN helps youth plan for and advance to a post-secondary education goal (vocational training, college, or military).
Starting Right, Now helps youths secure employment, open a bank account, and plan a budget while in high school. SRN youth receive financial literacy education, including real-life practice managing their own finances and beginning to build savings.
Youth attend Starting Right, Now’s trauma-informed after-school curriculum which instills prosocial and essential life skills. SRN fosters opportunities for positive peer interactions and community-building.
Starting Right, Now raises awareness and educates the community about the prevalence of unaccompanied homeless youth and their plight. SRN has assisted in changing ten laws in Florida to protect unaccompanied youth statewide.
“When I came back to my mom’s house, she had already packed all my belongings and placed them on the front porch.”
“In the past ten years I have grown mentally from the emotionally unavailable and detached adolescent that I was into a woman with purpose, hope, and many more dreams.”
Youth participate in SRN’s after-school curriculum that instills prosocial skills and sustainable wellness practices. Youth attend Poetry, Book Club, Dale Carnegie, Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness & Meditation, Computer Proficiency, Etiquette, Healthy Relationships, Overcoming Obstacles, and Urban Farming. SRN organizes cultural outings (including museum visits, sporting events, and theater) and group volunteer service, fostering positive peer interactions and community-building.
SRN hosts representatives from financial institutions to introduce financial literacy — information on bank accounts, savings, retirement, credit cards, stocks, and bonds. At Junior Achievement’s Finance Park, youths practice managing careers and life expenses. SRN helps youth draft resumes and submit applications for part-time employment while in high school. Local businesses partner with SRN to employ SRN youth and provide on-the-job training. Staff guides youth through opening a bank account, budgeting, and saving at least 30% of their earned income. SRN staff helps with scholarship applications, financial aid, and work-study enrollment for post-secondary education to eliminate debt.
Each student is matched with a personal one-on-one mentor, community volunteers offering advice, understanding, and encouragement. SRN mentors are trained in Social and Emotional Learning and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and agree to meet with their mentees in person weekly and communicate (via text, phone, email, or social media) daily. Youth also encounter the dedicated SRN staff. Mentors and SRN staff collectively serve as an advocate and consistent form of support, a resource that our youth did not have previously. SRN provides continued case management to youth through completion of their post-secondary goal, monitoring satisfactory academic progress and budgeting to ensure scholarship and financial aid retention. Unique from other programs, SRN youth remain in the program indefinitely, into young adulthood, accessing SRN to overcome any new barriers as they progress and mature.
SRN staff monitor academic progress including facilitating credit recovery and arranging tutoring. They also assist in completion of post-secondary school applications, as well as those for scholarships and financial aid. SRN staff coordinate SAT/ACT prep and testing, and organize vocational program and college tours. For students needing specialized academic services, SRN secures the appropriate Individualized Education Program (IEP) with the school district. With SRN’s support, students graduate high school and proceed to their self-determined post-secondary education goal which could include vocational training, college, or the military. SRN provides continued case management to SRN students through completion of a vocational certification, bachelors, or graduate degree.
Social Services and Healthcare Access
SRN staff help youth enroll in Medicaid and Food Stamps. SRN schedules and transports youth to a Primary Care Physician and preventative medical care, including dental, vision, and mental health care with licensed professionals. SRN exercises the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to ensure youth access specialized educational services to address obstacles that impede their academic success. For example, unaccompanied homeless youth are guaranteed free public school transportation to and from school.
SRN youth reside in our long-term transitional housing facility which offers food, cleanliness, safety, and rest. Housing includes (1) a fully-stocked kitchen and chef to prepare dinner; (2) access to water, electricity, and internet; (3) bedding, linens, pillows, and towels; (4) washing machines, dryers, and cleaning supplies; (5) personal hygiene products; and (5) reliable and safe adults (House Managers) at home at all times. Youth are permitted to live in the SRN house until they graduate high school and progress to a post-secondary education goal (vocational training, college, or military). At times, graduated youth temporarily return to SRN housing during breaks from post-secondary education.
Together, we can make a difference.
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