Frequently Asked Questions for Hosts

Last updated 12/21/20

Hosts

We are taking additional precautions when matching youth and hosts during the pandemic. We developed some shared agreements for hosts and youth during the COVID-19 outbreak. The purpose of this is to make sure that both youth and hosts have information and a framework to reduce the risk of COVID-19 contagion.

We are conducting trainings online.

Complete:

  • Host Home Info session
  • 6-8 hours of training for our Youth Housing Program
  • An application packet
  • A background check (Note: Background checks will be used specifically for identifying past actions that would exclude someone from becoming a safe Host in a private residence with a Transition Age Youth, age 18 - 24. If other results come back, but don't indicate a safety concern, it may not prevent volunteers from entering a Host position.)
  • An interview with a case manager
  • A home inspection
  • Create a Host profile for Youth to see what you’re like!

  • Youth chooses a profile
  • Host and Youth meet with a case manager
  • Host and Youth create a housing contract
  • Youth moves into Host Home
  • Case manager post-move in meeting with Host and Youth

  • Completes the application and matching process
  • Lives in Humboldt County
  • Has a private space available in their home
  • Youth access to kitchen and bathroom
  • Host must commit to youth for a timeframe of 1-12 months (most youth need 3-6 months)
  • Monthly home visits
  • Attends monthly support meetings for Hosts
  • Provides a safe, affirming environment
  • Supports the Youth’s autonomous goals, long-term wellbeing, and stability

  • Food and shelter is provided by hosts.
    • Hosts can receive a voluntary stipend (subject to availability) to help offset the increased cost of food and utilities (water and electricity) while hosting youth (i.e the host can choose whether or not to receive the stipend based on their own needs).
  • We can always find creative ways to alleviate some of the financial aspects of hosting.
    • That may mean youth access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to get their food needs met, or program staff can help youth apply for other economic assistance while in Home Grown’s program.

  • Hosts will receive ongoing support from case managers
  • A monthly stipend is available for Hosts that want to participate in Host Homes, but need assistance to off-set the costs associated with housing the Youth
  • Hosts will receive peer support and education opportunities in bi-monthly support groups

  • If you believe in the mission of Home Grown, but can’t host yourself, please share about our program with your community through conversations or on social media. We’re happy to talk to anyone interested in learning more. It is only through the spirit of solidarity that we are able to match youth with culturally responsive housing in their community.
  • Have more questions? Contact Joann Taijala at [email protected] or (612) 598-9212.

General Program

  • We intend Hosts and Youth to participate between 1-12 months (most youth need 3-6 months).
  • Host involvement is dependent on the continued ability of the Host to provide private and safe living space
  • Youth involvement depends on how well they are able to cohabitate with the Host and making progress towards their financial, housing, personal, and educational goals
  • If both Youth and Host uphold their program agreements, have a good fit, and decide to continue their Housing Contract past the initial 1-12 months, the Host Home Housing Program will continue to provide support with review of the Host Home and Housing Agreement

  • Youth and Hosts
    • Host Homes are safer for Youth, especially in cases of Transition Age Youth (TAY) with trauma in their history
    • The potential for long-lasting relationships between Youth and Hosts
    • Hosts and Youth connect in a structured program that trains, matches, and supports them
    • Hosts receive training and financial assistance. Stipends are provided as needed for one-time set up costs or as a monthly stipend to cover the cost of hosting Youth
    • Youths have a private, affirming, supportive space to transition toward greater stability
    • Hosts are able to hand down living skills to Youth directly or indirectly (ie, cooking, cleaning, working, money management, taxes, hobbies, etc)
    • Greater stability will allow Youth to focus on education and employment goals
    • Past Youth and Hosts that have participated in hosting TAY, either informally or through Point Source Youth, have found the experience highly rewarding
    • Youth and Hosts may learn about new hobbies or interests through each other
    • Youth and Hosts have staff assistance with plans for exiting their Housing Contract
  • Program and Community
    • The program is cost effective and faster for our community to utilize by relying on existing residential infrastructure, rather than funding and building shelter
    • We are building ties within the local community
    • Host Homes is a transitional housing program that is operating to address the housing crisis within California

  • In programs operating with assistance from Point Source Youth, past Hosts found that certain issues stood out more in their memory
  • Though there will no doubt be challenges, we hope the structure of the Host Home program, Housing contracts, and staff can offset any extreme difficulties having to do with:
    • Meals/Youth hunger
    • Management of living space
    • Guests and visitors
    • Substance use
    • Clear communication and expectations
    • Maintaining appropriate Host/Youth boundaries
    • Mental health needs/Fear of abandonment or getting kicked out
    • Understanding which house areas are private or public use areas
    • Youth storage areas
    • Regular sleep times and quiet hours
    • Clear length of stay and exit plans

  • Hosts are responsible for all Youth meals
  • Hosts can use the available stipend to cover meals
  • Host Home Case Managers can also help Youth apply for Cal Fresh benefits

  • As if renting out a room, both Youth and Hosts are responsible for keeping living spaces clean and uncluttered
  • Youth and Hosts will define expectations for chores in their Housing Contract before the Youth’s move in
  • Host Home Case Manager will perform home visits at regular intervals to ensure living areas are in usable condition and safe for habitation

  • Having pets does not exclude Youth from Host Home participation
  • Youths are responsible for all animal care
  • Unless otherwise specified by the Host, animals must stay at the Youth’s side or properly kenneled
  • Acceptance of Youth with pets in an individual Host’s home is up to the Host
  • Host pets should be mentioned in the Host profile for Youth to make their own decision about when choosing a Host Home
  • Hosts and Youth will solidify any further pet agreements with each other in their Housing Contract

  • Host Homes is a harm reduction, trauma-informed program that believes in providing housing first
  • As a program, we do accept TAY residents who may use alcohol and other substances, but we do ask them about their relationship with substances
  • If Youth do use substances, we ask that they don’t possess or use them on-site of the Host’s residence
  • Further specifics will be left up to Youth/Host Housing Contracts

  • The Host Homes program asks that Youth do not keep or use weapons or stolen property on-site at the Host’s residence or any Center property
  • We are interested in cultivating long-term goals with Youth that go beyond survival behavior
  • Youth Behavior that violates Youth/Host Housing Contracts or Host Home program agreements may be asked to leave the Host Home

  • Ideally, most grievances would be resolved by two individual people in direct communication with each other
  • Grievances that two people are unable to resolve themselves will primarily be addressed through restorative justice practices
    • Using restorative justice practices, the parties meet with a mediator and have a support person present, if needed
    • The goal is to address the needs of both parties satisfactorily and decide what course of action will best address those
    • Further action may be taken, as necessary.
  • If you have concerns about Hosts or Youth you are residing with, please contact the Host Home Case Manager or Program Manager
  • If you have concerns about peers of yours also participating in the Host Homes Program, please contact the Host Home Case Manager or Program Manager
  • If you have concerns about resources that Housing Program staff referred you to, please inform the Host Home Case Manager or Program Manager
  • If you have concerns about the Host Home Case Manager or Program Manager, please contact the Executive Director
  • At any point, you can submit your grievance in writing, and/or ask explicitly for staff to document it. Grievance forms will be made available to Youth and Hosts

Program Background

  • We believe in a client-centered, narrative approach. This means we believe that clients are the author of their own story and the experts on what they need. We want to operate in a way that centers their inner and outer well-being as the primary goal.
  • We believe in using a lens of social justice and youth empowerment.
  • We believe in harm reduction strategies that are trauma informed.
  • We recognize and challenge systems of power, like racism and classism. The same actions may not result in the same outcomes for everyone.
  • We believe in youth autonomy. It is the Youth’s right to make choices for themselves, whether or not we agree with them.
  • We believe in caring adult allies. In the Host Home Program, adults should understand that there is an inherent power dynamic of hosting youth in their home, while seeking to minimize the impact of it. Instead, focusing on creating an environment of equity and autonomy with Transition Age Youth (TAY).

Other Questions

Didn't find the answer to your question here? Please contact Joann Taijala at [email protected] or +1 (707) 502-2228 for more information.