In August 2020, the Washington State Department of Commerce: Office of Homeless Youth (OHY) allocated $1 million in CARES Act funding to DCYF to provide stipends to young adults who aged out of Extended Foster Care at age 21, between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. The purpose of the funding was to support housing stability for these youth during the COVID-19 crisis.
DCYF provided 185 eligible youth with $800 for each month that they were eligible. For example, youth who turned 21 years old in March 2020 received up to $8,000 over the 10 months.
“It was so, so, so helpful,” said one recipient. “Not only did I pay off two collection accounts, I paid the back rent owed to my apartment complex, put $1,000 down toward the debt on our car, bought some appliances for our apartment, and was actually able to have some spending money for Christmas presents for my family. I am so grateful.”
Youth who turned 21 years old between March 2020 and September 2020 received one check for every month they had been out of foster care through October. They then received one check per month, including December 2020. Many youth expressed their sincere gratitude to finally be able to meet basic needs for food, clothing, bills, transportation, and in one instance, a simple can opener.
“I can’t say enough about how much better off I am right now than I was a few months ago,” said Josiah, another recipient of the funds. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay off my old apartment, it was actually about to be sent to collections…Going from absolutely nothing to an abundance of resources was unlike any other relief I’ve ever experienced.”
Thanks to the fast work of OHY and our team at DCYF, the full $1 million has been distributed to some of our most vulnerable community members.