Frequently Asked Questions

What is the age range of eligible students?

Students aged 15-19 years and attending high school (in Hillsborough or Pinellas public schools) are eligible for referral to SRN.

Can the student be in alternative school? Charter school? Private school? Adult school? Or not registered in school.

No, SRN accepts students registered in Hillsborough or Pinellas public high schools. We can not accept students who attend an alternative school, charter school, private school, or adult school, or who are not currently enrolled in school.

Does the student have to meet a certain GPA?

No, although SRN considers students’ GPA, attendance, and record of conduct, we recognize that homelessness can affect these measures of performance and participation at school.

Can a student in ESE participate in the program?

Although students in ESE are eligible for SRN, youth in SRN must be able to live independently.

Is school transportation provided?

Yes, the school district provides transportation to and from school. 

Can the student be in foster care?

No, SRN does not enroll youth who are in foster care.

Can a student graduate early?

No, students enrolled in SRN must graduate in May to participate in the entirety of SRN’s programming and afterschool curriculum, as well as to qualify for scholarship opportunities.

Can students have misdemeanors/felony?

Although SRN is willing to make special considerations for some criminal records, we do not admit any students convicted of violent crimes, including sex-related offenses.

Will they receive food stamps and Medicaid? Survivor benefit?

SRN helps every student apply for food stamps, Medicaid, and other Social Security benefits for which each youth qualifies, independent of their family. 

If the youth works, can they have a later curfew?

No, every resident must meet the same curfew at SRN’s housing facility. SRN is willing to speak with a youth’s employer to request a feasible work schedule. 

Can a student have a car?

No, due to liability, we do not allow any student living at SRN’s housing facility to have a car.

Is there a cutoff date for SRN to accept seniors?

Yes, unaccompanied homeless youth in their senior year must be referred to our program by January 20th, within the school calendar year. SRN can only accept high school underclassmen after this date until the end of the school year.

Is there adult supervision at the housing facilities?

Yes, there is always an adult present – a house manager on shift – at SRN’s housing facilities 24/7.

Can the student participate in school activities?

Yes, we encourage our youth to be active in their school; however, when youth enroll in SRN, they agree to fulfill their responsibilities at SRN’s housing, make satisfactory academic progress in school, and participate in SRN’s mandatory after-school curriculum (primarily on Mondays and Wednesdays). On many occasions SRN has worked with a coach or club leader at school to accommodate for these obligations at SRN.

When does the program end for a high school student?

Unaccompanied homeless youth in SRN are permitted to live at our housing facility until they graduate high school and progress to a post-secondary education goal (vocational training, college, or military). As long as students follow the guidelines of the program and are a good steward of SRN, we will follow the student with continued case management through completion of their post-secondary education goal.

How can I make a referral for a student?

Unaccompanied homeless youth aged 15-19 and registered in Hillsborough or Pinellas county public high schools may be referred by a participating partner through this website. 

Can social workers, mental health counselors or families visit the student at the house?

Only SRN youth, staff, mentors, and occasional community partners are allowed inside either of SRN’s housing facilities. To protect the privacy of current residents, there are no exceptions to this rule. 

Can students visit their family?

Yes, when youth enroll in SRN, they agree to fulfill their responsibilities at SRN’s housing, make satisfactory academic progress in school, and participate in SRN’s mandatory after-school curriculum. If these obligations are met, youth are able to manage their own free time. 

What happens during holidays or summer breaks?

SRN does not close. We house our youth 365 days a year. 

Are Monday/Wednesday leadership classes mandatory?

Yes, the life skills classes after school on Mondays and Wednesdays are mandatory. 

What if a parent refuses to sign the minor consent form?

Students under 18 years old need a parent or guardian to sign the consent form to be admitted into SRN. Referring partners may contact info@startingrightnow.org for further guidance.

Can a student, friend, or parent refer to our program?

No, Hillsborough or Pinellas county public school social workers or representatives from participating community partners (e.g. emergency housing assistance) must make the referral.

Do youth in the program get mental health services? Medical appointments?

Yes, SRN staff helps youth apply for Medicaid independent of their family and help youth access preventative medical care, including scheduling appointments and arranging transportation as needed. Youth who request mental health counseling receive this service with licensed professionals. 

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