NEWVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — Homelessness continues to be an issue in the region. However, one particular group not discussed frequently is those aging out of the foster care system.
A new business in Cumberland County is looking to address that issue.
The Launch Pad recently purchased an 8,000 square foot building in Newville and plans to give young adults supervised housing, transportation, and independent living services.
They want to make it clear that foster kids aren’t forgotten.
Lia Fourlas formerly worked with kids in foster care and noticed as they aged out of the system, many ended up in jail or became homeless.
“I actually had a child who was 18 show up at my door and knock on my door and say I’ve been sleeping outside on the top of a laundromat and it’s really cold and now it’s raining,” Fourlas said.
With those problems looming over foster kids, Fourlas and Bethany Wheeler decided to assist as many kids as they could through their faith-based business.
“Helping to establish educational needs, jobs. We’ll have transportation to help with those kinds of things,” Wheeler said.
The business will help young adults 18 to 24 years old, previously in the foster care system.
“There is funding for kids after the age of 18, but there’s nowhere to accept the funding,” Fourlas said. “There’s nowhere for them to go.”
The place that they can now go has six apartments. Fourlas and Wheeler are aiming to help about 20 people.
“For now, we thought we would offer private and semi-private rooms because we want the kiddos to learn how to live with each other and have roommates,” Fourlas said.
Rent will be free and the kids will actually receive stipends to help them learn to manage money.
“If your child was 18 years old and needing to move out of the house, you would give support and help and guidance but you wouldn’t treat them like a child. You would treat them like an adult,” Fourlas said. “So, that’s what we want, to give kids without parents that opportunity.”
The Launch Pad hopes a few apartments ready by November or December.
You can follow their progress on Facebook or call Executive Director Lia Fourlas with any questions at 717-422-4884.
The Launch Pad is looking for volunteers as well.
“We need some volunteers to help us clean and then maybe some labor would be great,” Fourlas said. “We have a lot of offers, but we have a huge building and there’s only two ladies here, so any help is appreciated.”