Monday, September 12, 2016

Allissa Mitchell's Letter of Support for the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act

Good afternoon, Dan Hare,

 My name is Allissa Mitchell and I live in Stark County Ohio.

I represent the Overcoming Hurdles in the Ohio Youth Advisory Board (OHIO YAB), which is a statewide organization of young people (14-24) who have experienced foster care. The OHIO YAB exists to be the knowledgeable statewide voice that influences policies and practices that affect all youth who have or will experience out-of-home care.

I am writing this to state how strongly I support the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act. As a foster alumni, it matters to me that over a thousand Ohio foster care youth "age out" every year. Nationally, this number is 22,000. This program has my support, for it will not only decrease the homelessness in foster youth that age out every year, but it will also encourage youth to attend a secondary education. The less youth we have in homeless shelters, the chances of drug abuse and incarceration become much more slim.

Personally, I have been emancipated out of the system since my senior year of high school which was a little over a year ago. Housing myself is the biggest responsibility and hardship in my life. It has been an onward struggle almost from the get-go. I took online classes for massage therapy at Stark State last fall but quickly became overwhelmed from working as a behavioral interventionist and facilitator at a therapeutic center and the bills I had to deal with. Unfortunately, I did not pass that semester. If this Act had been used in my circumstance, I feel as if subsidized housing would have been an absolute huge help on my part. I feel as if I would have my massage therapy license by now.

The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act has my full support. I believe that it will improve outcomes for foster youth, and provide them with additional opportunities to contribute to and give back to society.

Allissa Mitchell
Former two-term President
Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board

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