By Theresa Walker / Orange County Register
Originally published in Orange County Register.
Orange County United Way’s Welcome Home OC initiative is helping find apartments for 25 voucher holders.
For three years after he aged out of foster care, at age 18, Christian was homeless.
During that time, he was hit by a car and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for six months and his speech and memory were affected. Over most of the last year he’s lived at The Link, a homeless shelter in Santa Ana.
This week, Christian, now 22, moved into his own one-bedroom apartment, in Tustin. That change is the result of a new rental-assistance program from the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to help young adults ages 16 to 24 who face homelessness when they leave the child-welfare system.
Christian holds one of the 25 vouchers from the HUD program, called Foster Youth to Independence, or FYI, awarded to the Santa Ana Housing Authority. The Orange County agency is one of only two in California to receive part of $1.7 million issued this year to pay for the housing vouchers; the other is Kings County Housing Authority in Hanford.
Christian, who asked that his last name not be disclosed, graciously played tour guide on Thursday, Dec. 19, to a gaggle of visitors who crowded into his small apartment in Tustin. The group included HUD officials, staff from the county’s Social Services Agency, and representatives of Orange County United Way’s Welcome Home OC program, which is helping find available apartments and providing furniture.
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