Earlier this month, Encompass gathered with community partners, leaders and guests to celebrate the grand opening of the Thrive Hive, Encompass’s drop-in resource center for transition-aged youth (TAY) ages 15-24!
Simply put, Encompass is a health equity organization. We believe that everyone in our community should have access to the high-quality care and resources they need and deserve to live a healthier, more fulfilling life. That is exactly why we prioritized building the Thrive Hive.
With this center, we can significantly expand the number of youth we serve and expand the services we offer to meet the unique needs of TAY individuals in our community. Most importantly, our TAY program team worked tirelessly alongside the individuals we serve to create a trusted, welcoming place for youth to come together to build community… and truly THRIVE.
The center is designed specifically to meet the unique needs of TAY individuals in our community, including those experiencing houselessness and those who are, or have been, involved in the foster care or justice systems. Most importantly, the resource center will serve as a trusted, welcoming place for youth to come together to build community. We are honored to have worked alongside the TAY individuals we serve to identify and incorporate the following resources into our new center:
- Computers and flexible classroom spaces to host programming on key topics like motivational interviewing, resume-building, job readiness, applying for higher education and to conduct mock job interviews
- Laundry facilities and showers
- A cozy living room and flexible recreational space to offer health and wellness programming, such as meditation and creative expression classes
- A fully stocked kitchen where staff can support youth in preparing warm, healthy meals
- Case management services to establish rapport and trusting relationships and delivery of direct services assistance
- Therapeutic services, for those who qualify
Upon exiting the California Foster Care system, 65% of youth and young adults face an imminent housing need. Housing options for young adults leaving the foster care system are extremely limited in Santa Cruz County. Encompass’s Transition Age Youth (TAY) Programs, which support youth ages 18-24, offer a total of 30 housing slots, through our foster youth Transitional Housing Programs.
This past year, TAY partnered with the county to help provide an additional 27 temporary trailer spots as part of our COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place emergency response efforts. Through this effort, the State provided our county with travel trailers to support transition age (18-24) individuals experiencing homelessness to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Encompass, the Community Action Board, and the County of Santa Cruz worked together to provide onsite management and programming to support sheltering in place and prevention practices during the COVID-19 emergency. Through these efforts, we have supported youth in finding their way into jobs, school and permanent housing.
We want to recognize the entire TAY team for turning on a dime to make this project happen for our community. Special thanks to Collin Webb and Kayanu Hoffman for their exceptional on-site case management and to our Program Assistant Annalisa Morris for helping us to manage all of the details along the way. We also want to thank the TAY team for all of the amazing work they have done virtually throughout the pandemic to ensure that every young person that comes to our program knows there is an adult who cares about them and their future.
Did you know that according to the 2019 Santa Cruz County Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, unaccompanied children and transition-age youth under age 25 accounted for 29% of the total homeless population in our county?
Encompass Community Service’s Transition-Age Youth (TAY) programs aim to change that by increasing the safety, emotional wellbeing and self-sufficiency for high-risk youth who are experiencing homelessness. Through our TAY programs, staff conduct critically needed street outreach to engage youth ages 15-25 into comprehensive services, a path to housing and positive permanent connections.
In line with Encompass’s mission, the TAY team uses evidence-informed and culturally sensitive strategies that are rooted in person-centered, strength-based and Trauma Informed Care practices. In other words, we treat every client as the expert of their own story with the power to choose their own path as we offer tools and resources to support their journey.