Second Home is a community response to the difficult problem of providing housing for unaccompanied, homeless youth while they attend high school.
Second Home, a Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon program, works with the homeless liaisons of the Gresham-Barlow School District, East County Resolution Center, and volunteer home-providers to find stable housing for young people who want to finish their high school education. Second Home is a ground-breaking example of how a community can respond to the issue of youth homelessness and support those who want to finish their high school education.
Student Q & A
What is Second Home?
Second Home is a community program designed to offer unaccompanied students stable housing so they can complete high school. Host families are paired with students who lack a fixed, adequate, or regular nighttime residence.
Who can apply for Second Home?
Any Gresham-Barlow School District student attending high school or the equivalent with the intent of graduating and who is 16 years old or older. If you need housing, contact your school counselor.
Does the housing cost anything?
The home providers agree to give you housing and meals, although you may want to buy your food if your tastes differ. If you have SNAP benefits, you can purchase some food for yourself. Your school counselor can help you apply for benefits.
Can a family I'm currently staying with be my Second Home home-provider?
Absolutely! Second Home will work with your current caregivers, relatives or friends to support a stable living situation while you complete high school. There is a simple application process; all adults over 18 will be background checked per Second Home guidelines.
Why do host families sign up to be home-providers?
For the most part, host families really want to help kids graduate from high school. They feel like this is a way they can help make someone's life better, and they want to help.
What if I don't like the family after I move in?
Everyone in this program uses a mediation process to agree on the details before moving in, so you will have time to get to know the home provider before deciding whether you want to live there. You also get to have a say in the house rules, so if you feel something isn't going to work for you, you can negotiate a different rule. If there are problems once you are at home, our staff can help you work through the issue or find another place to live.
Home-provider Q & A
How does the program work?
Host home providers offer students room and board while attending high school. All home-share arrangements are governed by rental agreements and house rules that the families and students negotiate together with the help of the Second Home staff and a volunteer mediator from the East County Resoulution Center. Students and home providers are matched up to form a home-sharing relationship. The participants' support comes from the Second Home staff and the community. This is truly a community undertaking to improve the lives of our young people.
Where will the students come from?
Full-time students can be referred to the program by their school counselor, who will contact the McKinney-Vento Liaisons of the Gresham-Barlow School District.
What am I expected to do for a student?
Depending on your agreement, you will give the student room and board for the school year (and possibly the summer). You are not expected to become a foster parent, but should a mentoring relationship develop, that is fine.
How will I pay for food?
You may be expected to provide food for the student while they live with you. Some students have SNAP benefits to cover their food needs.
Does the student pay rent?
Rental agreements are written to establish participation in everyday household chores as payment in lieu of rent.
How long will it take to be matched with a student?
The waiting time to find a match is highly variable and depends on the students entering the program, their needs, and yours. Since you both must agree that you want to live together, it is as much your decision to live with a student as it is their decision to live with you. When you are deciding to become a home provider for a student, you must understand that there may be a period between signing up and finding the right student to live in your home.
For more information about Second Home, visit Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.
Second Home in the News
September 11, 2018, Second Home gives homeless students stability, chance to graduate, OSBA
February 14, 2017, EMO's Second Home program featured in the Gresham Outlook
Watch July 8, 2015, interview, "EMO's Second Home: Connecting homeless youth & host families," MetroEast Community Hotline (video)
April 24, 2015, "Helping homeless teens earn their diplomas," Gresham Outlook
If you are a Gresham-Barlow student and interested in Second Home contact or Kate Poland at Gresham High School, Katie Ray at Sam Barlow High School, Erin Norden at Springwater Trail High School, Kendle Graves at REY, Erin Word at Rosemary Anderson East.
If you are interested in joining Second Home as a host family, please contact Adam Jenkins, Second Home Regional Coordinator, at 804-761-4427.
For general information or to find out additional ways to help homeless students in need, please contact with Gresham-Barlow Federal Programs at 503-261-4579.