Getting Started

 

When you leave foster care, finding a place to live and being on your own is a big step. You will need to plan ahead to find housing that is safe, affordable and convenient. You will be faced with several new opportunities and challenges such as what housing option is right for you, what skills does it take to live on your own and what type of assistance is available.

When making housing decisions, keep these things in mind when deciding on what living arrangement is right for you.

 

  • Where do you want to live?
  • Do you need to live close to your school, job or public transportation?
  • How much can you afford to spend on rent and other housing expenses?
  • Do you want to live with family or friends?

Here are some resources to help you as you start your housing search:

 

  • Leslie Family Children’s Foundation-they provide a support network that will include a Life Coach, Counsleors, Parenting Programs, Mentoring and many more skills needed to provide guidance in becoming a productive member of society; they list housing resources on their website. Phone-(727) 239-7171
  • Answers.USA.gov - Housing Help

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Resources : Housing

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Housing Options

As you leave foster care, you may have several new housing options. Choosing which option for you will be both exciting and stressful. Take you time, check out all your options and find a new home that will be safe, convenient and affordable.

 

It’s always a good idea to learn the basics of home maintenance and repair and how to react in an emergency situation.

 

  1. USF St. Petersburg
  2. USF Main Campus
  3. St. Petersburg College - There are no residence halls at SPC. However, there are several apartment complexes near each college site. Housing information may be available through the Student Life and Leadership offices on each site.
  • Home share program - The Home Share Program is a unique matching service between a Seeker, someone that needs a place to live and a Provider who wants to rent a room out in his or her house. It is international model that has proven successful in almost all of the United States. The program, the first of it’s kind in Florida. covers all of Pinellas County.
  • Group Homes - Group homes are small, residential facilities located within a community and designed to serve children or adults with special needs. These homes usually have six or fewer occupants and may or may not be staffed 24 hours a day by trained caregivers.
  1. ALPHA House of Pinellas County Inc. - 701 5th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, fL 33701 Phone: (727) -8190
  2. Brookwood - 901 7th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705 Phone: (727)-822-4789

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Assistance Programs

Even though you’re moving into a new home, you’re not alone. There are several assistance programs available to help you make the transition. Assistance with finances, household goods, legal and homelessness prevention is available.

 

  • Homeless prevention 

Homeless prevention services offer a varied array of services to attempt to prevent someone becoming homeless. Services may include job placement, financial assistance, transportation assistance, hotel vouchers and many others. It’s wise to contact these agencies before you become homeless, because assistance is available and may be able to keep you in your current housing.

  1. Salvation Army One Stop Center (727)-822-4954, 1400 4th Street S., St. Peteersburg, FL
  2. Boley Centers Homeless Prevention-singles and families (727)-490-0523 OR (727)-821-4819, 445 31st St. N., St. Petersburg, FL
  3. Direction Homeless Outreach-singles and families North (727)-420-9461, South (727)-580-6428, 1437 S. Belcher Rd, Clearwater, FL
  • Rent

Community Service Foundation, Fair Housing & Housing Placement Program

 

Fair Housing Counseling & Education on Fair Housing Laws and Landlord/Tenant Rights & Placement of households in safe, healthy and affordable rental housing with a goal to obtain permanent housing when circumstances permit. When EFSP (Emergency Food and Shelter Program) funds are available, qualified clients may receive rental/mortgage assistance.

Hours: 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday

Fees: None

Intake/Application Process: Contact office to schedule an appointment with Housing Placement Specialist.

Eligibility: Anyone needing assistance with Fair Housing Laws, Landlord/Tenant Rights, or assistance in finding affordable rental housing. When EFSP (Emergency Food and Shelter Program) funds are available, qualified clients may receive rental/mortgage assistance. Call for qualification information.

Handicap Access: Yes

Languages: English

Website: www.csfhome.org

 

  • Legal

Community Law Program, Housing Clinc

Twice a month, volunteer attorneys meet with clients to discuss their housing issues such as foreclosure or landlord/tenant issues and provide advice in a one on one consultation with the attorney.

Hours: First and third Friday of each month from 12:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Fees: None
Intake/Application Process: Call for more information
Eligibility: Clients must be at or below federal poverty guidelines
Handicap Access: Yes
Languages: English

Website: www.lawprogram.org

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Housing Life Skills

As you leave foster care, you’ll be faced with several new challenges as you settle into your new living arrangement.  You’ll have to learn several new skills which may include home budgeting, tenant rights, tenant responsibilities, home maintenance, and many more.  There are resources available to help you adapt to these challenges.

 

Rentals

 

You may need to establish credit in order to rent an apartment. Establishing credit may take a few months, so plan accordingly.

Tampa Bay CDC is a non-profit agency that is available at no cost to you. They will help you to establish credit and teach you how to maintain good credit. To reach a counselor at Tampa Bay CDC:

    727-446-6222 (Pinellas)
    813-849-1121 (Hillsborough)
    www.tampabaycdc.org

You can try to establish credit on your own by opening a store charge or line of credit. If you do this, MAKE SURE you don’t go over 40% of the amount of credit extended to you. Example: for a $100.00 line of credit, don’t charge more than $40.00. If you do…your credit will show up as bad.

Start saving money! Most rentals require you to pay first and last months rent, and another month’s rent as a security deposit, all before you move in!

Once you establish credit, now you’ll want to obtain a list of available rentals. Log on to Realtor.com and check out the rental section. You’ll be able to search by area of town, price and number of bedrooms. Make sure if you own a pet (or are planning to get a pet), that you disclose that to your landlord. Many apartments don’t accept pets, and if they do, will charge a non-refundable pet fee. A typical pet fee is $250.00.

If you don’t have internet access, stop by a Real Estate office and ask to speak to someone who handles rentals.

Subsidized/Section 8 Rentals:

 

If you qualify for a section 8 rental, a government agency will subsidize your rent. Find out if you qualify for subsidized rent by checking with your local welfare office.

Neighborhood Housing Service of St. Petersburg or Clearwater can help you find a rental or prepare you for Home ownership.

    St. Pete NHS 727-821-6897
    Clearwater NHS 727-442-4155

 

  • Household budgeting

Are you having a hard time paying bills on time, or can’t seem to save enough money to get a car or furniture? There are experts who will help you figure out a plan, and there is no cost to get this credit counseling. Simply call Tampa Bay CDC to set up an appointment. To reach a counselor at Tampa Bay CDC:

    727-446-6222 (Pinellas)
    813-849-1121 (Hillsborough)
    www.tampabaycdc.org

 

  • Home maintenance

While living in foster care, you may not have had to worry about home maintenance and repairs. Living on your own, this is a skill you’ll have to learn. Speak to your landlord or housing provider to agree on what home maintenance each party will be responsible for as the need arises.

It’s always a good idea to learn the basics of home maintenance and repair and how to react in an emergency situation.

There are several internet resources available:

 

Youtube videos on multiple topics

Home Maintenance Guide

 

  • Utilities

When you move into a new home, many times you will need to have utilities hooked up. Before moving in, ask what utilities you’ll be required to provide and what will be provided for you. Once you know what utilities you’ll need to provide, call each company to learn what the hook up process.

Utility deposits are a big moving expense. Call each company to find out what you’ll have to pay as a deposit.

Electric: Florida Power (all Pinellas Couty) - (727) -443-2641

 

Water: City of St. Pete (727)-893-7341, Pinealls County (727)-464-4000, Pinellas Park (727)-541-0711, City of Clearwater (727)-562-4600

Gas: TECO People's Gas (727)-862-3333

Cable T.V., Internet: Brighthouse (727)-329-5020, Verizon 1(800)-Verizon, Clear 4g Internet (727)-798-8132

Helpful Resources

Gulfcoast legal services: Gulfcoast Legal Services is a regional non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive, personal legal advocacy, counseling and education to vulnerable individuals and families.

Social Services: A great housing search tool

 

City of St. Petersburg: The city can assist you with code issues once you have rented a place and it is not maintained up to minimum standards.

 

Pinellas County Health & Human Services: Will offer rental assistance up to $600 dollars on a per case basis. 727-464-8400

Pinellas Opportunity Council, Inc. (POC): is the private non-profit Community Action Agency which has been serving the people of Pinellas County, Florida since 1968.

 

Florida Housing Search: Helps you locate available housing that best fits your individual and family needs.

 

Isaiah's Inn: Provides rental assistance to **FULL-TIME, EMPLOYED** single parents OR intact families WITH children. Also provides budget counseling. Single individuals without children do NOT qualify for assistance. DOES NOT HELP WITH DEPOSITS OR UTILITIES. *Not an emergency shelter* Phone: (727)449-2600

Pinellas County Community Development: The Community Development Department’s mission is to help residents of Pinellas County achieve sustainable living through decent housing, suitable living environments and expanded economic opportunities. Phone: (727)464-8210

2300 Tall Pines Dr, #100, Largo, FL 33771

(727) 954 -3989  -  info@readyforlifepinellas.org