The Goal of The Tree House @ Alder Health: Provide a safe, affirming, educational and constructive space for LGBT Young Adults (18 to 24) who may have been forced to leave their homes and/or are experiencing homelessness in which participants are encouraged to pursue the life they desire while giving back to the local community.
The project works with participants in four focus areas:
Shelter – Initially this represents efforts to get the young adults out of the street and unstable housing situations (living with friends, or as is the case with one youth identified already by the project, living in the garage of their parents’ home as they are not welcome in the actual house) and providing the participant with a safe environment in which basic needs are met. Plans include the development of a formal shelter program (The Residence @ The Tree House) as well as emergency host home program in which participants would be provided with support and services for a period of one-month (as well as the possibility of extended stays) during which time the young adult will work to identify next steps including additional involvement in the program.
Stability – From the plans developed by the participant during their initial enrollment period in The Tree House, the program offers two paths toward continued stability. The Cottages @ The Tree House are a subsidized apartment program which works with young adults looking to establish roots in the community and secure employment. The subsidy for the apartment is reduced over a period of eighteen months to assure the participant understands the responsibilities of renting as well as has the skills necessary to maintain the apartment. The Homes @ The Tree House connect trained and screened homes and families in the community with participants. The stable environment created within The Homes provides participants with a safe space and support necessary to continue their individual development. Participants within The Homes may be hoping to achieve a level of reunification with their birth family and will be working with Tree House staff to facilitate such discussions and potential returns.
Success – Participants are able to fulfill their self-directed objectives and become established residents in the South Central Pennsylvania community who attend school, are employed and are involved in many elements of the community as volunteers and leaders.
Health – Throughout all components of the project, Alder Health Services will provide participants with access to LGBT culturally competent medical and mental health services as needed. As needed transportation will be provided to and from appropriate medical services.