CHICAGO The 750 Club Apartment Adoption Project is launching this week in Chicago to provide private apartments for youth moving out of transitional housing. The project was initiated at the LGBTQ Homeless Youth Summit hosted earlier in 2014 by Windy City Times newspaper.
The 750 Club aims to provide additional scattered-site housing to unstably housed youth who are in school or working at least part-time. There will be a special focus on LGBTQ youth, but the program is not exclusive.
Studies show that stable housing is a basic necessity to maintain health and safety. Without it, youth have difficulty attending school, finding and keeping jobs, eating right, staying healthy, and more.
The 750 Club will address this issue by raising funds for private "adoption" of apartments. Existing homeless youth agencies and their case manager programs will provide supportive services to the residents. The program will cover young adults ages 18 to 25, or emancipated minors.
Every $750 raised will get approximately one youth in one apartment for one month.
Team Captains who agree to recruit 10 people to each give $75 a month for two years will have adopted one apartment for one youth for two years, which is the average minimum time agencies recommend for stabilizing a formerly homeless young person.
"This is an amazing, one-on-one way our community can make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth," said Tracy Baim, publisher of Windy City Times. Baim is overseeing the project, and is seeking help from team captains willing to recruit friends to commit to raising $75 each for two years. "A small group of just 10 people can change the world of one youth. The case managers will handle the logistics, but we also help to provide mentorship opportunities as well."
All funds raised will be collected and administered by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's ( AFC ) housing program, so all donations will be tax deductible. Agencies who utilize scattered-site youth housing options will then apply for the use of the funds.
"AFC has the infrastructure to pay rents on behalf of residents, and we coordinate services for over 750 supportive housing residents each month," said John Peller, president & CEO of AFC. "The 750 Club is a cost-effective extension of our existing programs that will help youth, including LGBTQ youth, a population that is highly vulnerable to HIV. We are grateful for Tracy's leadership to address a serious, long-standing community need."
The donation categories are:
Bronze: $75 one time House one youth for three days
Silver: $75 per month for 10 months House one youth for one month
Gold: $75 per month for 24 months Partnered with nine others, you will house one youth for two years
Platinum: $750 a month for 6 months You will house one youth for six months
Titanium: $750 per month for 24 months You will house one youth for two years
Online donations and monthly pledges can be done via the AFC website, tinyurl.com/ApartmentAdopt .
For landlords interested in donating the use of an apartment at no or low-cost, please contact Baim to discuss options. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Note: The average studio apartment rented through the agencies is $750 a month. The 750 Club will use this as the target goal to raise funds for two-year leases for youth who are working through agencies to find stable, long-term housing. In some cases it might be a two-bedroom apartment at average rent of $1500. Because this is an average number, in some cases the funds will help more than one youth, and in others additional money will be needed. Any extra funds will roll over into additional apartment rentals.