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Supporting Youth Experiencing Homelessness

In a brand-new partnership with the IL Department of Human Services and the Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Family’s Basic Center Program, Allendale marked the one-year anniversary of its Shelter & Transitional Adolescent Resources (STAR) program this November. This initiative addresses the critical need for housing solutions for youth and young adults grappling with homelessness, targeting a service gap in northern Illinois.

Filling the Gap: STAR’s Unique Offerings

Designed to bridge this service gap, STAR provides eight emergency shelter beds for boys aged 14-17 in Lake Villa and two emergency beds for young adults aged 18-23 in Waukegan. Additionally, the program offers transitional living services for up to two years to six young adults. The impact of STAR extends beyond its immediate community, serving youth and families from across the State of Illinois, with a significant representation from Lake County as well as the Metro Chicago area and western suburbs.

STAR’s Demographics: A Diverse Range of Beneficiaries

Allendale’s commitment to inclusivity is evident in STAR’s demographics, where 100% of beneficiaries are low-income and benefit-eligible. Notably, 75% are youth of color, and 24% identify as LGBTQ+. The program has catered to the unique needs of young men and older boys at 66%, with 91% of the served individuals being 17 years of age or older.

Reflections from the First Year: STAR’s Achievements and Impact

Since its inauguration in November 2022, STAR has provided shelter to a total of 5 boys ages 14-17 and 15 young adults ages 18-23. The program’s success is evidenced by the positive strides made by its participants:

  • 100% of youth progressed toward stability, achieving milestones in mainstream benefits, employment, and educational goals.
  • Comprehensive life skills and risk assessments were completed by all participants.
  • Those identified as needing additional services based on risk assessments took advantage of supportive services.
  • 78% of the 9 discharged youth successfully transitioned to stable housing.

Voices from the Program: Youth Testimonials

Through the eyes of the youth, the STAR program’s impact becomes vivid. Thirteen-year-old “G” stayed in the Emergency Shelter in Lake Villa for 13 days. “G’s” mother stated that the program offered the support her and her son needed while they worked through a crisis. The two now attend family therapy helping them to remain together at home.

The STAR Team: Passionate Professionals Making a Difference

The devoted professionals behind STAR demonstrate their commitment and passion for the program. Whether it’s Jordana’s joy in engaging with youth during community outings or Tameeka, Samson and Andrea finding fulfillment in positively influencing young lives, the STAR team embodies a collective dedication to supporting youth in crisis.

Allendale veteran staff, Debra, says “helping young adults feel that they belong in a safe and supportive environment matters to me.”

Hear first-hand accounts of what the STAR program has meant to youth and staff.

Community Collaboration: Strengthening the Safety Net

To enhance its impact, the STAR team collaborates with various service providers in Lake County, ensuring a comprehensive approach to meeting the diverse needs of youth in the program. Collaborations with organizations like the National Runaway Hotline, the Lake County Coalition for Homeless, Independence Center, State Bank of the Lakes, and local libraries underscore the commitment to a holistic support network. Additionally, partnering with the local police and Lake County Sheriff’s Department ensure youth have access to emergency support and shelter.

Investing in the Future: STAR’s Expansion Plans

Allendale’s transitional living program, maintaining a waiting list since February, is poised for growth. Addressing the urgent need for safe, supportive housing, Allendale plans to open a second Transitional Living Program site, increasing the capacity to serve 10 more young adults.

Join the Movement: Partner with Allendale

As Allendale looks towards the future, community support becomes integral. Those interested in contributing to this critical initiative are encouraged to connect with Allendale and explore ways to support housing opportunities for vulnerable youth. The organization’s 125-year legacy of care and service remains steadfast, providing a foundation for its ongoing commitment to the well-being of youth and families facing challenges.

Connect with us to learn more about how you can join forces with Allendale in support of this critically needed program.

A tradition of care and service.

For more than 125 years, Allendale, a private, not-for-profit organization, has led youth with serious emotional, mental, and behavioral health challenges and their families on a journey towards resiliency.

At Allendale, our aim is to offer every chance for healing and growth – through myriad programs and services and a continuum of care including 24/7 therapeutic residential treatment, therapeutic day school programs, outpatient counseling services, foster care, emergency shelter services and community support services. Allendale is a place where kids and families have the opportunity to restore their lives and discover a better future.