While The Lodge’s programs provide a positive, structured environment for the boys, serious consideration must be given to what will come next in their young lives. Many foster and probation youth “age out” of institutional care, but are underprepared for independent living. In fact, nearly a third of youths who leave the foster care system at age 18 will become homeless at some time within the first year. Statistics show that those aging out of foster care will also struggle with unemployment and drug dependency. Conversely, youth who remain in stable environments with access to therapeutic services beyond age 18 tend to be more likely to work toward completing a high school diploma and/or going to college, and less likely to be victims or perpetrators of crime and violence.
In response to a need for extended placement for these boys, Pacific Lodge launched Ben’s House to begin its Supervised Independent Living Placement program. Ben’s House was initially started in 2011 in a three-bedroom house on the edge of Lodge property. In April of 2014 it moved across the street to a three-bedroom home, which is now open to six young men aged 18 to 21. Residents of Ben’s House benefit from safe, affordable housing, educational enrichment, vocational training, work experience, medical and mental health services and the support they might need to remain drug-free. They not only receive and practice applicable life skills, they also build permanent connections with caring adults, including relatives, mentors and community members. Ben’s House empowers our transitioning youth with the confidence and self-determination necessary to achieve their own life goals.
As we move forward, The Lodge’s Strategic Planning Process for 2014 to 2016 includes developing our housing services beyond Ben’s House, to incorporate scattered-site housing projects under the Transitional Housing Placement Plus Foster Care Program (THP+FC).
If you would like more information on how you can support Ben’s House, please contact our Development Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.