VOLUNTEER HOST HOME APPLICATION
ELIGIBILITY AND EXPECTATIONS FOR VOLUNTEER HOSTS
All applicants must:
- Have an extra bedroom (providing privacy) for the youth.
- Be at least 25 years old.
- Have lived in SC for at least a year.
- Live in a suburb of Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester Counties
- Complete the application form, providing any relevant information
- Have renter/homeowner's insurance, providing a file copy if requested
- Provide three references
- Authorize and pass background checks which include:
- SLED Check
- Public Records (i.e. arrest reports)
- IntelliCorp Records, Inc.
- Complete the initial training session
- Complete a question and answer meeting with the program manager and an Action Council member
The above criteria need to be successfully completed in order for an applicant to be qualified as a host. Applicants need to demonstrate a strong commitment to work with a youth to build a healthy and trusting relationship, an ability to provide a safe, decent, sanitary, stable and supportive environment and consistently demonstrate skills necessary to meet program objectives.
All applicants must be willing to adhere to all program rules and emergency procedures. They must report any changes in family composition and changes in legal status of any household members to the program manager. If selected, applicants and others in the household must be willing to ask for assistance for difficult situations. Applicants and members of the household must have not sexual contact or any other sexual activity with or around the youth placed in their home.
Participation of applicants may be terminated at any point in the process if the program manager and/or Action Council representative feels the applicant is unable/not ready to be host volunteers.
Host Home Support:
After approval and once hosting, volunteers are provided regular support groups. These meetings will provide the hosts with an opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other, as well as to learn from outside trainers up to four times a year. Youth involved in the program will receive ongoing support from their case managers. The main support person for the volunteer hosts is the program manager, whereas the main support person for the youth is the youth advocate/case manager who referred him or her to the Host Home Program. The case manager will work closely with the program manager to ensure that the host home receives the appropriate level of support throughout participation. Participation includes scheduled and unscheduled (if warranted) home visits which will also be a part of the support system provided.
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
What are the rules of your home?
Think about sharing your living space with a youth you don't know very well. Think about the rules and expectations that will be important for that person to know (i.e. no phone calls after 10 pm). The youth moving in will also have rules of his/her/their own (i.e. knock before you enter).
What are your expectations of the youth while s/he/they lives with you?
The Host Home Program is an opportunity for the youth to live in a safe and healthy environment while s/he/they works on self – determined goals (i.e. attending/finishing high school, getting their GED, securing a job, learning a skill or trade, paying rent). The youth and his/her case manager will develop a plan with clear goals that everyone formally agrees to (the youth, the hosts, the case manager, and the program manager).
What is your financial commitment to this youth?
You will be responsible for providing food for this youth for the duration of his/her stay. Expect your utility and groceries bills to go up. Aside from food and a safe home, you will not be responsible for other expenses. The case manager and program manager will work with you on setting appropriate boundaries around expenses.
Is your living space ready for a young person?
The youth must have his/her own room or private space. That room/space should be clean when the youth moves in. Make sure that your smoke alarms work and that you have accessible fire extinguishers. If you have alcohol in the house, it should be kept in a safe place where the youth is less likely to have access to it.
Would you be open to sharing your home with a GLBTQ youth?
You would need to get acquainted with GLBTQ youth issues and explore your own feelings about sexual orientation and gender identity and learn to be able to talk about and deal with those issues. Even many people who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual don't necessarily have much awareness about transgender issues.
Have you explored (personally or otherwise) issues such as white privilege and racism?
The majority of hosts in existing host home programs are white, whereas many of the homeless youth are of color. If you are white, it is extremely important that you become more aware of race, racism, and white privilege and the implications of living with that privilege. Talking about this will be part of the training.
Are you willing to put in some time to create a nurturing relationship with a youth?
Developing a trusting relationship with a youth may take some time and hard work. This may require you to be an active participant in that young person's life (i.e. driving him/her places, helping with schoolwork, meeting with case manager).
Are you capable of living with a youth who may be working through difficult issues?
You need to be conscious that the young people who participate in the host home program will come from all sorts of backgrounds and have lived through all sorts of experiences. Some have been abused, some are in recovery for substance abuse, and some have never had a healthy adult – youth relationship. These issues will also be discussed during the training.