What is the purpose of the program?
The Transitions program exists to help homeless young women without children and between the ages of 17 ½ and 20 become financially and emotionally independent, capable of taking care of themselves without long-term dependence on public assistance. WYO believes that the process of developing such skills begins by providing program participants with an economical place to live, personalized structure and support, and mutually trusting relationships between staff and participants.
The program is designed to be a real-life simulation. Participants learn skills and develop personal habits that will be transferable to their next housing situation within the community. To that end, we require residents to pay a monthly program fee (similar to a rent payment), identify community resources, and obtain services for themselves (such as medical or financial) that are necessary for their well-being.
Where do program participants live?
Residents live in a home located in the downtown Wheaton community, along with two to three other young women who are also working toward program goals. While each resident has her own room, there are common areas such as the living room and kitchen that are shared. Ideally, residents have positive relationships with one another and the home is a pleasant living environment. As with all relationships, there is the potential for conflict to arise. We believe that learning to manage conflict is a skill that will be necessary throughout one’s life.
Who manages the homes?
The homes are managed by houseparents, adults who live in the home and are in charge of the day-to-day business. They oversee the property, provide support and care to the residents, and model healthy adult behavior.
What are the main components of the program?
While there are many components to the Transitions program, case management provided within the context of community living is at the heart of program. This service is present throughout a person’s stay with us.
How long do program participants stay in the program?
While the length of stay varies for each program participant, residents are expected to meet their program goals within two years. The question “How will we know when you are ready to leave?” weaves its way throughout the case management process and is the basis for setting realistic, measurable, and meaningful goals. Typically a resident feels ready to move on when she has saved a particular sum of money, has secured stable employment, has an affordable car, has access to healthcare, etc.