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Rising cost of housing hurting those aging out of foster care in Palm Beach County

Place of Hope offers hope for those facing homelessness
Posted at 9:29 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 10:04:52-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The rising cost of housing is impacting thousands in Palm Beach County, including those in the foster care system.

May is foster care awareness month and one Palm Beach County organization is shinning light on the young adults aging out of foster care with no where to go.

Charles Bender, founding CEO of Place of Hope, said there is a plight of people who are falling through the cracks of the system. He said young adults in the foster system who haven't found their forever home turn 18 and have no one and no where to go.

"We expect them all of a sudden to be stable and ready to go at 18, when your average family in America doesn't do that with their own children," Bender said. "They don't just say, 'OK, bye' at 18. We as a community need to do better."

Former first lady Melania Trump visited Place of Hope this week to talk with Bender about this exact issue and look at possible solutions.

According to Bender, at least 100 young adults are put in this situation ever year and he said that number is only growing.

"We've had kids that have been in 40 foster homes before they've been placed with us. That's not an exaggeration," Bender said. "It happens all the time, and so can we expect us as a society for these young people to be successful, be able to focus on their education, and all these other things and healthy development as a whole, when they're bouncing all over the place."

Place of Hope has an affordable housing program specifically for young adults who age out of the system — the Village of Hope. With rent costs on the rise, so is the number of young adults relaying on the program.

Bender said they are doing everything they can to keep homelessness out of the question. They are planing to expand their locations in Boca Raton and their new location in Stuart, but he said their locations in Palm Beach County are maxed out.

Place of Hope is seeking donations to build more units. To donate, click here.