What We Do

The Need

Homeless youth usually end-up homeless through no fault of their own. Common causes for youth homelessness in Humboldt County include, but are not limited to, aging out of foster care, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, family conflict, and behavioral health issues. These youth lack stable housing arrangements and often sleep in places not meant for human habitation such as in the woods, in the bushes, on the sidewalk, and in vehicles. Those experiencing homelessness have a harder time finding and maintaining employment, which reinforces the cycle of homelessness.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were 77 transition-aged youth in Humboldt County who experienced homelessness in 2020. Of those, 5 were able to obtain transitional housing services, while another 6 were able to obtain emergency shelter, leaving 66 without shelter. This means that only 14.3% of the transition-aged youth who needed housing services last year received the support they needed. Home Grown’s goal is to bridge this gap.

Our Solution: The ”Host Home“ Model

Home Grown uses the host home model which pairs transition-aged youth (18-24) with community members in Humboldt County who have extra space in their homes. This approach allows youth to obtain access to stable short-term housing (1-12 months, but typically 3-6 months) while building meaningful connections with caring adults in their community. Youth choose who they will live with and understand that this is an interim step in their long-term housing plan. While youth are in the host home, Home Grown’s case managers work with them on pursuing their housing, academic, and employment goals; saving up extra income; and searching for long-term housing.

Our host home program empowers youth to find their own path out of homelessness—we provide stable housing, build trusting relationships, and assist with academic, employment, and other goals related to independent living.

Why Host Homes?

Point Source Youth spent two years conducting research (nationally and internationally), through numerous interviews with service providers, site visits, many conversations with leading researchers on homelessness, and evaluations with youth. They found that host homes, along with rapid re-housing, and family and kinship strengthening, have the most initial evidence for success, and they are scalable, youth-centered approaches to addressing youth homelessness. Host home programs have been successfully launched across the country, each one tailored to its community’s specific needs.

Host homes utilize existing residential infrastructure, making the approach a cost-effective, innovative, grassroots way of combating youth homelessness in our community. Home Grown prioritizes low barriers to entry, harm-reduction, trauma-informed approaches, and the provision of a safe, supportive environment. We believe our community can thrive when we share our resources and approach homelessness from the perspective of ‘us and us’ and not ‘us vs. them’.