top of page

St. Petersburg City Council Approves Support Program for Young Adults Exiting Foster Care System

May 21, 2024 - Last Thursday, St. Petersburg City Council approved a partnership between the City of St. Petersburg and Ready for Life, Inc., to support young adults aging out of the foster care system. Nearly $1 million ($946,365) has been allocated with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to initiate Youth Opportunity Grants.


"The Youth Opportunity Grants program is a great example of how the City is prioritizing the futures of our young people in St. Petersburg," said Mayor Kenneth T. Welch. "With Education and Youth Opportunities as one of our Pillars for Progress, we are pleased to partner with Ready for Life, an experienced agency providing young adults with much-needed support at this critical juncture in their lives.”


Youth Opportunity Grants is a pilot program focused on young adults aged 18-27 who are former foster youth, not engaged in formal aftercare services, and need additional support in their transition to adulthood from the foster care system.


The program plans to provide monthly cash disbursements directly to the program participants, intended to be an economic floor, to supplement (rather than replace) existing income and safety net. Participants will receive $500 per month, for a total of 12 months. 


"Ready for Life is excited about this partnership knowing firsthand the impact that this assistance will have on the lives of 88 young adults who were in the foster care system," said Kathy Mize, CEO of Ready for Life. "More than 40% of those we serve are homeless and hungry when they bravely make their way to our door. Though the statistics are dire for this population, what we’ve discovered in our 15 years experience is that with support, they can build successful, productive lives. Thank you to the city of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg City Council for recognizing the hardships faced by the former foster youth right here at home and for doing something so significant to help them."


Former foster youth face many barriers when transitioning into adulthood, experiencing high rates of homelessness, human trafficking, and significant mental health issues. These outcomes are further compounded by not having the resources and family supports available to them that are becoming increasingly necessary for young people as the economy continues to change. Research shows that participants in other pilot demonstrations have shown increases in full-time employment, increased ability to pay unexpected expenses, and increased emotional well-being as a result of receiving these additional funds each month. St. Pete joins Gainesville as the only municipalities in Florida with a city government-led direct cash transfer program.


NEXT STEPS

The City is anticipated to open applications for Youth Opportunity Grants in late Summer 2024. Updates and program information will be found at www.stpete.org/YOG .


About Ready for Life, Inc.

Ready for Life, Inc. is a solution-based skill center supporting former foster care youth in homelessness prevention, education and employment, and lifeline support networks based in Pinellas County. Through an RFP process, the City selected Ready for Life, Inc. as the non-profit organization that will administer this program and provide robust wraparound support to participants to ensure they are set up for success during and after their participation in this program.


About the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

As of May 2021, $45 million in ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds has been budgeted to continue the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to help drive an equitable recovery for residents most impacted by COVID-19. More information about ARPA funding in St. Pete can be found at stpete.org/ARPA.  

35 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page