Here at Ready for Life, we work to connect our youth.  We connect them to resources, to each other, to mentors, and to their future. It is these connections that help build stability and provide a base on which they can grow. Our resources provide our youth with a valuable source of aid and support available to be drawn upon at anytime when needed. Feel free to explore the various topics below. If we are not able to provide you with the answers you are looking for, please feel free to contact us personally by email or phone.

OVERVIEW

 

transportation

PSTA Bus Pass for Youth
PSTA GO card BUS PASS

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority operates over 40 bus routes throughout Pinellas County. Ready for Life can help you obtain an unlimited ride GO Card bus pass. Please contact us or come by the office to speak to your Youth Specialist. If you don't have a Youth Specialist, we will set you up with one.

More Information on PSTA:

housing assistance

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:

    • ​​Answers.USA.gov - Housing Help & Information

    • Leslie Family Children’s Foundation provides a support network that will include a Life Coach, Counselors, Parenting Programs, Mentoring, and many more skills needed to provide guidance in becoming a productive member of society.

      • Phone: (727) 239-7171

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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.

  • Transitional Housing

  • Apartments

  • Kinship care/stay with foster family

  • Student Housing

    • USF St. Petersburg

    • ​USF Main Campus

    • 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.

  • ALPHA House of Pinellas County Inc. - 701 5th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, fL 33701 Phone: (727) -8190

  • Brookwood - 901 7th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705 Phone: (727)-822-4789

  • Emergency/Short Term

  • Home Ownership

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.

  • Tenant rights/responsibilities (The Florida Bar)

  • Finding housing/placement programs

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:

 

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. Visit 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.

Subsidized/Section 8 Housing

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:

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: Duke Energy (all Pinellas County): (727) 443-2641

  • Water: ​

    • Pinellas County Utilities

    • City of St. Pete (727)-893-7341, Pinellas County (727)-464-4000; Pinellas Park (727) 541-0711; City of Clearwater (727) 562-4600​

  • Gas: TECO People's Gas (727)-862-333​

  • Cable & Internet: Spectrum (727) 329-5020; Verizon 1(800)-Verizon; Clear 4g Internet (727) 798-8132

assistance & resources

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

 

​Community Law Program, Housing Clinic​

​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

Resources

  • Pinellas County Community Housing Guide

  • Pinellas County Community Development Rental Housing: 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

  • 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.​

  • Pinellas Homeless Leadership Alliance Resources

  • 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 Housing Assistance: 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

 
KEYS TO INDEPENDENCE

Keys to Independence is a program offered by Ready for Life  that can help you obtain a drivers license. This programs assists with testing fees, taking the substance abuse course, and attending driver's education classes. We can also help you with finding insurance as well as a vehicle. 

 

food & clothing

Food banks & pantries
clothing resources
Ready for Life Emergency Pantry

health

BayCare and Ready for Life
Understanding Healthcare
healthcare locations
violence resources
sexual health
SUBSTANCE ABUSE

DENTAL CARE

DR. DAVID ZABROCKI MEMORIAL DENTAL PROGRAM
  • Ready for Life offers a special dental program to help give access to and pay for dental services for our youth. Through this program, you will learn how and when to make dental appointments and how to properly care for your teeth. To learn more about Ready for Life's Dental Program, please reach out to your Youth Specialist or contact the office at (727) 954-3989

  • About Dr. Zabrocki

DENTAL RESOURCES
Dr. David Zabrocki
 
 

EMPLOYMENT

job boards

There are various web sources available to help you find the job you are looking.  Below are a list of reliable sources we have found to be useful and reliable.

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HOW TO's & informative articles

​​How To's

Teens

EDUCATION

ARE YOU READY TO START?

Obtain and organize your personal records, ID cards, and drivers license.

Information about the following topics can be found on pages 9-10 of the booklet On Your Own But Not Alone.

1. Birth Certificate

2. Social Security Card

​3. Medical and School Records

4. Florida Drivers License

5. Florida Identification Card
6. Foster Card Records
7. Voter ID
8. Health Insurance Card

ARE YOU READY TO FINISH HIGH SCHOOL?

Free Tutoring

Having trouble with your homework? The Homework Helpline provides service to students of Pinellas County's Schools from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The helpline telephone number is (727) 547-7223.

 

Several Programs offer free tutoring:

 

There are several community-faith based organizations that offers free after school tutors:

  • Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, 3500 18th Ave. So St. Petersburg (727) 460-7851

  • Moore's Chapel, (727) 321-3187

  • St. Mark AME (727) 906-4921​

  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters Org, (727) 518-8860

  • St. Pete Urban League, (727) 327-2081

 

Disability and IEP​

 

When am I too old for High School?​

 

For College Planning

​According to State University System (SUS) general admission requirements, home-schooled students should submit an affidavit signed by the student’s parent or legal guardian attesting that the student has completed a home education program that includes the 4-4-3-3 core curriculum plus 2 consecutive levels of a Foreign Language. See the Home School Completion Affidavit on page 13 of the guide below: 

Need Assistance with Pregnancy or Children to Remain in School?

  • Drop Out Prevention

  • Teen Parenting Services

    • Teen Parent Social Workers are assigned to all PCS schools. If not enrolled in school or if a contact name is needed, first contact: Teen Parenting Services at 727-588-6000 ext 6070

  • Pinellas County Child Care Resource Referral line: (727) 547-5750

 

Classes are free to any parent (ages 16 and older) not enrolled in day high school, whose reading, math, or language skills are below 9th grade level and who has at least one child under the age of 8. Enrollment is open entry. Students are required to be in class a minimum of 50% of the hours offered and to participate in all four components of the program. Upon intake, students are given assessment tests to help with proper placement and instruction. Most classrooms use computer-aided instruction as well as textbooks. Instruction consists of whole group lessons, parenting lessons, and also individualized with teacher assistance as needed. The Even Start program removes the barriers that prevent students from receiving a high school diploma; such as, child care and transportation.

ARE YOU READY FOR COLLEGE?

Why go to College?

 

What to Consider with a 2-Year College/Community College

 

What to Consider with a 4-Year College/University​

 

How to Apply to College​

  • Applying to college

  • Florida College Websites 

    • Online applications are available for Florida's public colleges, universities, and career technical centers and some private colleges, too. When you apply to a college, your information is saved so it can be used for applying to other colleges (with the exception of a few school-specific questions).

 

Types of Financial Aid Available​

​Types of aid available include Grants, Scholarships, Loans, & Student Work Study:

  • Review the college’s financial aid website for all available types of aid

  • Apply for a Pell Grant

  • Complete the school’s general scholarship application and be sure to check that you want to apply for any scholarship for which you meet the criteria.

  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid)

 

​What if I Have a Disability?​

 

What are Tuition and Fee Waivers?

​Fee Exemptions Florida Statute: Per s. 1009.25 (2)(c)

(c) A student who is or was at the time he or she reached 18 years of age in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services or a relative under s. 39.5085, who is adopted from the Department of Children and Family Services after May 5, 1997, or who, after spending at least 6 months in the custody of the department after reaching 16 years of age, was placed in a guardianship by the court. Such exemption includes fees associated with enrollment in career-preparatory instruction and completion of the college-level communication and computation skills testing program. Such an exemption is available to any student who was in the custody of a relative under s. 39.5085 at the time he or she reached 18 years of age or was adopted from the Department of Children and Family Services after May 5, 1997; however, the exemption remains valid for no more than 4 years after the date of graduation from high school.

 

Undergraduate Fee Exemption Form - Take this form to the College when you initially apply.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE ARMED FORCES?

Armed Services Contact Information:

 

Ron Williams
Veteran Employment Representative
WorkNet Pinellas
624 1st Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Ph  (727) 608-2543
Fax (727) 329-1497
rwilliams@worknetpinellas.org

 

Lynette Cartagena
Veterans Employment Representative
WorkNet Pinellas
624 1st Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Ph (727) 608-2533
Fax (727) 329-1497
lcartagena@worknetpinellas.org

 

Recruitment Offices:

 
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LEGAL & SAFETY

COMMUNITY LAW PROGRAM

The Community Law Program provides free legal services to Ready for Life youth. Types of legal situations the Community Law Program can help youth with include (but aren't limited to):

  • Appealing the denial or termination of Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS)

  • Appealing the denial or termination of Extended Foster Care (EFC)

  • Helping to resolve a landlord-tenant dispute

  • Helping remove legal barriers to employment

Contact your Youth Specialist to find out more about the Community Law Program.

Local legal assistance