Removing Barriers
& Creating Opportunity

Breaking Down Barriers

ASOH helps to removes the financial, physical, psychological, and health related barriers to creating a home. ASOH breaks down these barriers and helps to advance economic empowerment for youth aging out of foster by providing a home and the necessary tools, resources and opportunities to help them achieve their educational, career, financial and health goals.

Economical

Barrier: The financial means to furnish one’s home.

Gains:
Removing the financial impossibility of furnishing a homes, the targeted grant of over 250 items to create the home gives former foster youth have an equal opportunity at life – with respect to this most basic of human rights, a home.

Community

Barrier: Without community, a foster youth doesn’t have the team that it takes to physically create a home.

Gains:

  1. In less than 90 minutes a home is created, demonstrating that we go further together and the power of teamwork and community.
  2. Youth pay-it-forward, becoming empowered as team members and learning how much they have to offer community.

Health

Barrier: After a life of housing instability, the mental health barrier to creating a home is significant.

Gains:

  1. The scientific community unanimously agrees that a shelter that is fully equipped to function as a home is essential for an individual to maintain good physical and mental health.
  2. A home is the centering place for all humans to manage their emotional & physical well-being, maintain order, organize one’s life to develop and grow productivity and confidence to go out into the world & work to improve one’s life.
  3. Environmental psychology is the scientific study of interrelationships between people and their physical surroundings and how they shape the person. The personalized home design by ASOH improves self-confidence, self-worth, self-esteem and elevates one’s personal goals and the ability to achieve them.
  4. The ASOH process makes the recipient feel heard, understood, valued, and connected to greater humanity – providing stability, hope, and the resolve to achieve career, educational, and health goals.

The average person spends the largest percentage of their income on housing and the greatest amount of their time at home

  • Neuroscientists, environmental psychologists, and health care experts all agree that home is the greatest factor in determining one’s life expectancy, as well as success in work, and education.
  • The average American child is completely financially dependent on their parents until age 26. More than 50% of a parent’s financial support to their child is spent on housing.
  • To fully furnish a one-bedroom apartment and equip it with just the basic items (without appliances) costs a minimum of $10,000 at Ikea prices.
  • A former foster youth may secure a Section 8 apartment, but only have the means to sleep, eat, and study on the floor, keeping their belongings in garbage bags.
  • After an average of seven relocations in the foster care system, the most important goal for an aged-out youth is a home. Without it, they are less likely to focus on education and career goals.
  • The inability to make an apartment into a functioning home will lead an aged-out youth to couch surf and/or live in their car. The cycle of homelessness begins and the downward spiral into poverty. ASOH intervenes to help break that cycle.

Youth that have aged out of the foster care system have far greater obstacles to overcome compared to their peers.

Newfound Optimism, Hope & Agency Gained During a Home Creation

  • For both the volunteer and beneficiary:
    • Dr. Shira Gabriel at SUNY recently developed an instrument to measure how experiences of collective assembly may contribute to a life filled with a sense of meaning, increased positive affect, an increased sense of social connection and a decreased sense of loneliness – all of which are essential components to a healthy, happy life. Dr. Gabriel sates “My research on collective effervescence suggests that activities sponsored by A Sense of Home are likely to be associated with an increased sense of social connection”.
    • Brené Brown states that holding hands with strangers allows us to gain a sense of belonging and believe in “inextricable human connection. That connection, the spirit that flows between us and every other human being in the world, is not something that can be broken”.
    • Witnessing the power and impact of humanity coming together to create a beautiful home in just 90 minutes exemplifies that radical transformation is possible.
  • For the volunteer:
    • Leading scientists agree that bestowing acts of kindness on a stranger is the greatest anti-depressant in the world and increases overall well-being.
    • Bearing witness to a life transformed leads to a conscious awakening of one’s role in contributing to a better world.
    • The immersive experience helps to deepen one’s understanding of homelessness, poverty, structural racism and inequity.
  • For the beneficiary:
    • Receiving the attention of up to 30 strangers, all helping to create their new home, allows the beneficiary to feel uniquely loved, seen, heard and understood.
    • Bearing witness to the love, joy and vulnerability of strangers offers the recipient a greater sense of love and worthiness, also allowing them to begin believing in, and feeling more connected to, humanity.
    • Moved by the experience, the beneficiary becomes a conduit for change – paying it forward and helping to create homes for others.
Removing Barriers & Creating Opportunities - A Sense of Home