By Daniel Johnson, Investigative Reporter
The New Day Youth and Family Services organization is introducing a transitional living program for 17 to 21 year olds, said New Day Housing Continuum Director and Life Skills Academy Director Evone Zander.
To join the transitional living program, students are required to fill out a confidential online application form at http://www.ndnm.org and attend the life skills academy for one month.
While in the application process, students can elect to stay at the group’s shelter and will work with a specialist to determine if they are classifiable as homeless, she said.
“Helping people while educating them to survive in the world today is our main goal,” said Zander.
Youth Empowerment and Transitional Living Specialist Randi Miller said the program can help anyone classified as homeless, including those staying in a shelter, those sleeping on a friend’s or family member’s couch, and, in some cases, those in an abusive or dangerous environment.
“The program is open to all individuals that need it, including people who might just be couch surfing at a friend’s house, because a lot of people who are homeless do not consider themselves homeless,” she said.
Zander said that those in the program are required to attend life skills classes, which range from safe sex to financial literacy.
While the program is free to those who qualify, there are enforced rules and guidelines. People not in the program cannot visit clients, and a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol is enforced, she said.
“Clients must follow program guidelines and understand we are offering help, but not offering a spot to live a party lifestyle”, she said.
Zander said there are six apartments currently in use that can house 15 people until the group’s new shelter is completed in September 2013.
New Day Youth and Family Services also provide clinical practices, case management, youth crisis shelters and a detention diversion program for high school students, she said.
“We have a phenomenal team of people that work at our agency and this is a great opportunity to give support to people who are struggling and need stability in their life to move forward, we want to make the positive possible with every individual we help,” said Zander.
Miller said she knows that some may find it hard or scary to ask for help, but that helping is what the organization was created to do.