The Home's News

New Residences Available Throughout New Hampshire for Young Adults Involved in Child Welfare System

Monday, May 09, 2022

Boston (5/9/22) – The Home for Little Wanderers announced today that it has opened Hillsborough Village, a “scattered site” housing program throughout New Hampshire to provide safe, stable housing for young adults involved with the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). The innovative program works with landlords to sign leases at market rate for apartments where young adults can live. The goal of the program is to provide secure, independent housing solutions for young adults who don’t have families to help them transition into adulthood while removing risk for landlords who may not be comfortable signing a lease with a young adult without a credit history. Once the young adult achieves economic stability and earns the landlord’s trust, the lease may be transferred to the young adult.

“Young adults who have experienced trauma and the disruption of being raised in the child welfare system without a permanent family to provide love and nurturing often find themselves at risk of homelessness, substance abuse and involvement with the criminal justice system,” said Lesli Suggs, LICSW, President and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers. “The outcomes for these kids are not very good, so providing support during their transition into adulthood gives them an opportunity to build a positive, stable future.”

According to the 2014-2018 Children’s Bureau National Youth in Transition database, in New Hampshire:

  • 32% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported experiencing homelessness
  • 27% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported they were enrolled in and attending school
  • 54% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported they were employed full- or -part-time
  • 8% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported experiences with incarceration
  • 22% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported having children

“These living environments will make a world of difference at a pivotal point in time by supporting young adults who most likely would have ended up homeless,” said Vice President of Community Services at The Home, Matthew McCall. “The idea is that young adults will have a place to call home when they are too old to live in DCYF group homes or foster homes, and then eventually, we hope to transition the leases to them so that they have a permanent place to live. The leaseholder knows the rent will be paid on time when they sign a lease with The Home, and the young adults can learn how to live on their own while we provide support – something most kids get from their families – while they transition into adulthood. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Hillsborough Village works with property owners across the state to identify housing in or around the area the youth grew up, when appropriate. In multi-bedroom units, youth are matched with other young adults involved in DCYF. To qualify for the program, the young adults must be actively working on a treatment program with DCYF. This may include educational goals like finishing high school or attending college, job training and job readiness, or building and practicing general life skills.

The program will begin by providing living spaces for 12 young adults. Apartments have already been identified and occupied in Manchester and Laconia.