Of the roughly 23,000 children who age out of the foster care system each year, around 20% become instantly homeless at age 18. A nonprofit in Oklahoma is working to help them and other unhoused young adults find shelter by offering tiny homes at a low rate.
The organization, aptly named Pivot, aims to be “a turning point for youth.” The housing starts at $100 a month for a 300-square-foot home, and each is equipped with a bed, bathroom, small kitchen, and eating area. In addition, Pivot provides residents with valuable lessons to get them off on the right foot and end the homelessness cycle — helping them build life skills like cooking, doing laundry, driving, problem solving, budgeting, and effective communication.
“A lot of times they’re not aware of what are the steps to get down that path, because they don’t necessarily know what the resources are, or where to go [in the] community to get that kind of access,” CEO Jennifer Goodrich told CBS News.
As of November, Pivot operated 26 tiny houses, all located on the nonprofit’s 12.5-acre campus, which is staffed 24 hours a day. They were furnished and decorated with the help of local interior designers, and “each one is a little bit different,” Chandy Rice, Pivot’s senior director of external affairs, told The Oklahoman this past July. “We wanted it to be that way. We didn’t want it to feel like government housing out here.”
Another of the organization’s goals is to build a community atmosphere wherein residents develop relationships and practice being good neighbors. “All young people have talents, skills and dreams, and we collaborate with them to make those dreams a reality,” Goodrich shared with the outlet.
Dachiana Barry, 20, had nowhere to go after leaving foster care and now lives in one of Pivot’s tiny homes. She told CBS it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up: “I’m very appreciative of what I have right now, what I was provided with, because I didn’t have anything.”
Pivot also runs a service called “Family Junction,” in which children ages 12 to 17 are provided temporary housing, whether they’re living without a parental presence, have run away from home, or are in the custody of the Department of Human Services. The program offers the kids emotional support, counseling, recreational activities, tutoring, and access to education.