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Host Homes for Homeless Youth of Northwest Michigan (HHHY). National Association for the Education of Homeless Children & Youth Conference November 2, 2008.

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host homes for homeless youth of northwest michigan hhhy

Host Homes for Homeless Youth of Northwest Michigan(HHHY)

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children & Youth Conference

November 2, 2008


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

what is host homes

Alternative housing program for unaccompanied teens that provides safe and stable housing while students work toward high school graduation.

  • Age 14-15 placement- with relatives only
  • 16 to 20 years old - any qualified home

Host Homes is NOT foster care

historical perspective
  • Goal
    • Keep them Safe and Keep Them in School !
  • 2003 Needs Assessment
      • Grassroots approach –listened to students’ stories of engaging in high risk behavior in order to secure housing
      • Four individuals wrote the first grant to the United Way for $40,000
historical perspective1
  • 1st year
    • Catholic Human Services (CHS) acted as fiduciary
    • Local school district’s program for homeless youth (STEP) provided oversight of program
  • 2nd year through Present
    • HHHY became program of Catholic Human Services. Why?
    • School district would not assume liability.
    • CHS operates independently; the program fit into its prevention model.
continues to evolve
  • 2006 - CHS acquired State licensing for HHHY as an Independent Living Services program through the Michigan Department of Human Services
  • 2007 - Program audit by Michigan Department of Human Services:
    • in compliance with extremely positive feedback
Five Counties in Rural NW MI (geographically -about the size of Delaware)

16 Public and 3 Charter school districts

Cost per student / year =


# students served/year

2004/2005 = 24

2005/2006 = 21

2006/2007 = 34

2007/2008 = 22

Length of stay =

2 weeks to 3+ years

2007/2008 Graduation rate = 80%

20% remain in school

key program components
  • Collaboration – “Rarer, harder, more promising than we think”

NCHE: Collaborations of Schools and Social Service Agencies

December 2005

    • Funding
    • Fiduciary/Program Administration
    • School Districts
    • Community Agencies
    • Advisory Board
nuts and bolts

WHERE do referrals come from?

  • self identified
  • parent requests alternative placement
  • school staff
  • community partners (i.e. court ordered anger management)

WHO are the Host Homes?

  • known by student or arranged placement
  • all participants 18 years and older (students and potential host homes) must pass State authorized background check (UW processes background check through the state police at no charge to the host home/program)

WHAT is the cost?

  • stipend directly paid to Host Home parent of $10.00-day ($ 3650.00 year)
  • coordinator paid hourly rate plus mileage
  • fudiciary indirect cost of 5%
the process straight from the horse s mouth
  • Referral from school, court, shelter, parent
  • In-take packet
  • Create and maintain individual files
  • Monthly home visits
  • Invoice processing
  • Outcome measures
      • Behavior, grades, attendance - monthly
      • Written evaluations (school, HH families, student) - end of semester
  • Referral to Community Resources
  • Past & Present Grants
    • Local foundations
      • Electric / Oil Companies
      • United Way
      • Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation
      • Youth Advisory Councils
    • Service Clubs
      • Rotary
      • Zonta
  • Collaboration
  • Recruitment of new host homes
  • Continuation funding from local sources
  • New grantors
  • The economy
  • Emotional health of participants
  • Return of written evaluations
what students tell us

“Not only did this program provide physical shelter for me, I am truly blessed to know that I am in a house where I feel cared about and have friends. I don’t know where I would be today without the few people in this program who have helped me to stand on my own two legs.” (a student from Russia)

more from students

“It helped me to get on my feet. I learned new things. I learned to trust and know how it feels to have great people who really love you and care for you. It is great and I am happy now!”

“I am much more on track to graduate than ever and I’ve been clean from drugs for a long time.”

“My host mother doesn’t hit me!”

host families
  • “Joe has graduated! He received some awards and scholarships, thanks to you. Your support was awesome!”
  • “Sharing our lives and love with someone less fortunate than us has given a new appreciation for what we have and who we are.”
  • “It is hard to find the words to express what a difference it has made in the life of our family as well as our host student Sarah. She has become like a daughter to us and will remain so after the program ceases.”
  • Single host dad- “It has made me a better person!”
contact information

Marybeth Novak, Catholic Human Services Prevention Coordinator and HHHY Coordinator (231) 947-8110

Joan Abbott,Traverse City Area Public Schools STEP Program Coordinator and McKinney Vento Regional Grant Coordinator

(231) 933-8991