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Home-share program that helps unhoused Cape Cod youths to expand

A local home-share program that helps young people who are facing housing instability is expanding.

Host Homes matches unhoused young people with homeowners who have an extra room.

A placement typically lasts for 6 - 12 months while the young person looks for permanent housing.

A pilot program has been running on the Lower and Outer Cape through Homeless Prevention Council in Orleans, but it can now expand to other parts of the region.

That’s thanks to part of a $1.3 million dollar federal grant, received in partnership with Barnstable County.

Dan Gray is Continuum of Care Program Manager at the County’s Department of Human Services. He said the program makes sure placements are a good fit.

“Are there pets that the young person might be able to help with taking care of? Are there expectations that, ‘I prefer you don’t be out until X time every night.’ So that those conversations take place before anyone moves in to make sure everyone is on the same page.”

Gray said the federal money will allow the program to pay hosts a monthly stipend of roughly $800 – 1000 a month for providing a room.

The expansion of the program is part of the County’s Hopeful Homes initiative, its new coordinated plan to address youth and young adult homelessness in the region.

Over the last six months, local nonprofits offered services to about 90 unaccompanied youths (under age 25) experiencing homelessness on the Cape and Islands.

Gray said the County wants to do outreach with schools and students who are affected.

“They may have confided in a trusted teacher or a coach that they had no place to stay that night. What we have had heard from young people is, nobody in some of the school systems or the close people that they connected with had an immediate tie-in to some of those resources." Gray said the Cape also has a much higher percentage of young people who are couch-surfing compared to the rest of the state, making it harder to identify those who don’t have stable housing.

Head to Barnstable County's Youth Homelessness page to find local resources.

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