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Partnership provides housing for former foster kids
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Photo courtesy PINELLAS COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23 celebrated the opening of this home at 12603 132nd Ave. in Largo for formerly homeless young men who grew up in the foster care system and are now on their own.
LARGO - On any given day Kathy Mize Plummer and her staff work to find shelter for homeless youth who have aged out of the foster care system. They encourage them to go to school, help them enroll in job training, and help them get jobs. Counseling is often needed due to childhood trauma.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23, celebrated the opening of a home at 12603 132nd Ave. in Largo for formerly homeless young men who grew up in the foster care system and are now on their own.

“Youth that have "aged out" of foster care have many obstacles and struggles and it is our goal with the help of community partners to remove barriers and provide support, encouragement and resources to assist them in self-sufficiency,” said Plummer in a press release.

She is the CEO of Ready for Life Inc., a non-profit organization that serves youth that have “aged out” of the foster care system on their 18th birthday. Most of the time, these young people have little if any support system to be successful on their own.

The new RFL Hope Home is a result of a partnership between Pinellas County, the Pinellas County Housing Authority and Ready for Life.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to positively impact the lives of these young men, allowing them to focus on their future, knowing that they have a safe place to lay their head at night,” said Debbie Johnson, executive director of the Pinellas County Housing Authority. “We appreciate our partnership with Pinellas County’s Community Development department that allowed us to make this positive impact on the lives of these young people. We hope to be able to provide more housing opportunities like this in the future.”

More housing is needed for youth who have aged out.

“Ready for Life would love to be able to provide a safe, stable and affordable housing for our young women and also for our single Mom's as we have now done for the young men. We value this partnership tremendously and look forward to great things ahead”, Plummer said.

Pinellas County Housing Authority is the largest housing authority in Pinellas County providing housing and rental assistance to approximately 8,500 individuals through agency-owned affordable housing, public housing, assisted living and the administration of the Housing Choice Voucher program. For more information, visit www.p­inell­ashou­sing.­com.

Ready for Life is a 501©3 nonprofit agency that has taken the lead in providing resources, connections and hope for youth that are “aging out” of the foster care system in Pinellas County. RFL’s mission is to engage foster care youth, private citizens and public resources to assist foster youth in a successful transition to adulthood. For more information, visit www.r­eadyf­orlif­epine­llas.­org.
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Phone: (727) 397-5563
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