Second Home provides stable housing and ongoing support for unaccompanied students experiencing homelessness, so that they can focus on completing their secondary education and discover and realize their gifts and potential.
Second Home, a program of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, serves students in Washington County, Clackamas, Gresham-Barlow and Lincoln County school districts. Our program is a ground-breaking example of how a community can respond to the issue of youth homelessness. Through recruiting volunteer home providers, we are able to support those who want to finish their high school education. Second Home also provides ongoing opportunities to pursue internships and employment, counseling, and life skills training.
Home Provider Q & A
> How does the program work? Home-providers offer room and board to the student while they attend high school. All home-share arrangements are governed by rental agreements and house rules that the families and students negotiate together, with the help of the Second Home staff and a volunteer mediator from the Dispute Resolution Center. Students and home-providers are matched up to form a home-sharing relationship. Support for the participants comes from both the Second Home staff and from the community. This is truly a community undertaking to improve the lives of our young people.
> Where will the students come from? Full-time students can be referred to the program by their school counselor or by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaisons of the School District.
> What am I expected to do for a student? You will give the student room and board for the school year (and possibly the summer depending on your agreement). You are not expected to become a foster parent, but should a mentoring relationship develop, that is absolutely fine.
> How will I pay for food? You may be expected to provide food for the student while they live with you. Some students have SNAP benefits to cover their food needs.
> Does the student pay rent? No. Rental agreements are written to establish participation in normal household chores as payment in lieu of rent.
> How long will it take to be matched with a student? The waiting time to find a match is highly variable and depends on the students who are entering the program, their needs and your needs. Since you both must agree that you want to live together, it is as much your decision to live with a student as it is their decision to live with you. When you are deciding to become a home-provider for a student, it is important that you understand that there may be a period of time between signing up and finding the right student to live in your home.
> What if things are not working? This does not happen often, but if you feel things are not working out, contact your regional coordinator. The goal of Second Home is to bring stability to student housing and to model positive conflict management. Your coordinator will work with you to make the necessary next steps. If conflict cannot be resolved, we will work with you and the student to transition well.
> What if I have plans to be out of town for an extended period of time? Every situation is different, but your regional coordinator will make the best effort to work with you to make appropriate arrangements. Some students will stay in the home and provide house sitting services. Other times students will stay with a friend or a temporary home provider.
> How is this different than foster parenting? Home providers are not asked to be parents but, at the minimum, asked to provide safe and stable housing. Our program is based on a rental contract operating under Oregon contract law. The student receives rental history under the terms that they attend high school, remain alcohol and drug free, and agree to the home share terms. Students are not placed with host homes; rather, they interview and choose their host home provider. And the host home provider offers their place for the student to stay.
> How will the student get transportation? The school district provides transportation to and from school. Transportation for after school activities can be addressed by the school district or the Second Home coordinator. Home providers are free to provide transport under their own terms but this is not required.
> What is the role of the student’s parents or other relations? This is different for every situation. It will be a topic for conversation addressed in mediation between the students and host home providers, and included in the contract agreement.
Student Q & A
> Who can join Second Home? Any Washington County, Gresham-Barlow, Clackamas or Lincoln County school district student who is attending high school or the equivalent with the intent to graduate and who is 16 years old or older.
> Does the housing cost anything? No. The home-providers sign up to give you housing and food, although you may want to buy your own food if your tastes are different from theirs!
> Why do they sign up to be home-providers? For the most part, the people who sign up really want to help kids graduate from high school. They feel like this is a way they can help make someone's life better, and they want to help.
> What if I don't like them after I move in? Everyone in this program uses a mediation process to make an agreement before moving in, so you will have time to get to know the home provider before you make a decision about whether or not you want to live there. You also get to have a say in the house rules, so if you feel like something isn't going to work for you, you have an opportunity to negotiate a different rule. If there are problems once you are in the home, our staff is available to help you work through the issue or to find another place to live.
> If it doesn’t go well, will I get “kicked out”? No. Students are never kicked out of the Second Home program. Mutually agreed upon contracts provide housing stability and a start for conversation whenever conflict may arise. Students freely create and participate in the agreed upon terms of the home share arrangement. This agreement becomes the basis of conflict mediation; however, if conflict cannot be resolved, the Second Home team will work with the student and host home provider to find alternative housing options.
Second Home in the News
June 30, 2019, Canby Now Podcast, "Home, Sweet Home"
Feb. 14, 2017, EMO's Second Home program featured in the Gresham Outlook