Together We Rise, which engages in fundraising collaborations to help offer assistance and positive experiences to young people in foster care, is looking to help current and former foster youths who are temporarily displaced by the closure of a college campus due to coronavirus.
The Brea, California-based organization has posted the following on its Facebook page:
“We want to ensure that these youth fully understand their rights as students and are aware of the resources that their colleges may offer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Steven Macias, donor relations manager for Together We Rise. “If there are no housing options readily available to students, we are prepared to source temporary housing with the help of our committed supporters and partners, including offering Airbnb and hotel accommodations.”
Thus far, the organization has raised just over $5,000. You can donate through a link by clicking on the above Facebook post.
Colleges across the country began to revert to online classes this month to promote social distancing, a key recommendation of health experts trying to slow down the spread of the virus in the United States. Many of those colleges left have kept their residence halls open, but some elected to shut down completely, creating housing uncertainty for foster youths and international students alike.
“In the first 24 hours since offering our resources, we have received nearly two dozen housing requests from students in need with two being classified as urgent,” said Macias. “We are working diligently to vet inquiries and provide resources to these youth as we receive them. We have also received hundreds of inquiries from generous supporters who have offered to open up their homes in an effort to provide temporary housing.”
As the closures became news, Congressional leaders on foster care held a press conference urging schools to consider the needs of foster youths as they closed many of their campuses down. The U.S. Children’s Bureau sent a letter to state child welfare agencies urging them to reach out to any foster youth on a college campus to make sure they had safe living options.
“We urge child welfare agencies to work with colleges and universities, urging them to continue to provide housing as appropriate to meet the special needs of youth in foster care/formerly in foster care,” said the letter, sent by Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner.