Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Gabriel Young's Letter of Support for the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act
My name is Gabriel Young. I am the President of the Overcoming Hurdles Ohio Youth Advisory board, also known as the OHIO YAB. The OHIO Youth Advisory Board is a statewide organization for young people age 14-24. Our mission statement is that we exist 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 to strongly support the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act. As a foster youth myself, it matters to me that over a thousand Ohio foster care youth “age out” of care every year. Nationally, this number is approximately 22,000.
Far too often, aging out of foster care means aging into homelessness. Foster youth want more than that. What we want most are opportunities to create a successful future.
I am a foster care alumni from Mahoning County. I emancipated the foster care system when I was 18 years old. I was still in high school, and had to work a full time job. This became a huge struggle for me. I had tons of bills pilling up and needed to work more hours to support myself and still go to school.
School was my main priority, but I needed to have a roof over my head and I needed to have food. So I had to make a tough decision either keep going to school or become homeless, so I choose to go to work so i could have somewhere to stay. I paid for my decision. I am graduating a year late, and missed out on 20,00.00 dollars in scholarships due to not graduating on time.
The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act has my full support. I believe that it will improve outcomes for foster youth, decrease the homelessness rate for emancipated youth, and provide them with additional opportunities to contribute to and give back to society.
Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board