For most, turning 18 is a milestone met with great anticipation. Others find celebrate their 18th birthday by finding themselves homeless.
Youth aging out of foster care are a particularly vulnerable population with many risk factors generally borne from childhoods of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. These factors do not diminish as they approach adulthood. Former foster youth comprise 40% of the nations population living in homeless shelters. 25% report no income within one year of aging out; the average yearly income for those who do find work is $6,235. 70% state they would like to attend college, but only 10% do and only 2% graduate. Within 18 months of transitioning, 25% of females aging out of foster care are incarcerated. On average, one in two males fulfill the same fate. Helping these youth move into successful adulthood is a pressing societal concern.
In Sonoma County, SAYs Mary and Jose Tamayo House helps fill that need. The Tamayo House is a transitional housing program for transitional age youth aged 18-24 who (1) have aged out of the foster care system or (2) live with serious mental illness, are leaving mental health placements, and are vulnerable to homelessness.