Frequently Asked Questions
Is there really a need for a place like 3:11?
Despite a number of collaborative efforts to improve access to affordable housing in the Grand Rapids area, an increasing number of young people are finding themselves without housing in the local community. According to data from the Kent Count Intermediate School District, 2,515 students in Kent County were homeless as of April 2012, a 20% increase from the previous year (2012). Additionally, recent counts state that around 80 young people are homeless on any given night in Kent County and over 2,000 youth experience homelessness each year.
What are the social costs of Youth Homelessness?
Society as a whole suffers from the social costs of youth homelessness in significant ways. Evidence-Based Associates (2008) found that programs that prevent young people from entering our justice systems, programs like 3:11 Youth Housing, save over $200,000 annually and between $2.6 and $5.3 million over the course of an individual's life. In addition, homeless youth are much less likely to obtain a high school diploma or GED, and have a high prevalence of suicide attempts, mental and physical illness, unemployment, incarceration, and pregnancy.
Is there a specific population most affected by youth homelessness?
There is a distinct lack of supportive services in our community to house youth ages 18-24. This is especially true for youth in the foster care system, who automatically lose state-provided support as they "age out" of the system between the ages of 18 and 21. Additionally, 40% of homeless adults were once homeless as a young person, and many youth who are experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ.
How were youth involved in the development of 3:11?
3:11 is founded on the belief that youth input is central to the success of the organization. Youth members of our advisory board were instrumental in developing the concept for 3:11 Youth Housing and we continue to actively encourage youth participation and feedback, including inviting a 3:11 alumni to be on our board of directors. In addition, 3:11 is specifically designed to walk alongside tenants as they make strides towards independence, developing their own unique goals for their time in the program.
HOW DO YOUTH BECOME A PART OF 3:11?
Youth are primarily referred to 3:11 through our partner agencies and through current residents. We carry a long waiting list and, since we are only able to house four youth at a time, have very infrequent openings. When we do have an opening, youth fill out an application and move through an intake process to assess for best fit. Ideally, we want to have a continuum of services in our community, so young people can make their own choices about where they want to live and what kind of support is best for them.
WHERE DOES THE NAME 3:11 COME FROM?
Our name comes from 1 Corinthians 3:11, "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." We are founded on this premise, but recognize that every young person has the right to self-determination. Our organizational premise flows from this belief, but we do not mandate any faith requirements or compliance from our young people.
HOW old are the youth at 3:11?
All youth living in a 3:11 home are between the ages of 18 and 24. We are not a licensed foster home; our mission is to walk with youth as they transition to adulthood. Additionally, we follow our young people through alumni programming, walking alongside them well into adulthood.
HOW Long can youth Stay at 3:11?
As a general rule, youth live in the house for up to 2 years. Youth can graduate from the program or leave earlier, but most youth begin creating a transition plan after year one. There are a few exceptions, however, and our 2 year rule is not set in stone as we don't want to create another gap in services. We work with each youth to transition to interdependence effectively.
HOW IS 3:11 FUNDED?
3:11 is funded through a variety of ways... primarily through individuals like you! We rely on grant funding and the generosity of individual donors to house and serve our young people. Some of our housing costs (ex: mortgage, maintenance costs, upkeep) are funded through partnership grants and rent from tenants. In addition, we are continue to look for varied and unique funding streams for future homes--hoping to create self-sustaining properties and potential social entrepreneurship opportunities.
What is 3:11's plan for the future?
As we work to develop partnerships with local agencies on the issue of youth housing, program staff will work to expand the target population, including creating supportive housing options for young women. New housing options will be identified in other local neighborhoods, and 3:11 will continue to develop existing partnerships. Future housing developments will be identified by examining their accessibility, safety, feasibility of space, and distance to bus lines and employers. We will be opening our second home in 2016.