> Who can join Second Home? Any student who is attending high school (or the equivalent) with the intent to graduate in the counties of Washington, East Multnomah, Lincoln or Clackamas. Students must be between the ages of 16 to 21.
> Does the housing cost anything? No. The home providers sign up to provide safe and stable housing. Rental agreements are written to establish participation in normal household chores and to ensure school attendance.
> 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 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.
For students who are interested in participating in Second Home, please contact the staff member in your region (view under "Contacts").
Second Home Student in Washington County
I heard about the Second Home program through my high school counselor. I was seven months pregnant and looking high and low for a place, any place, to move into with my soon-to-be born baby. At the time, I lived in an apartment with a kind mother and her daughter, but they did not have room for a baby and all of the supplies that a baby comes with.
My teachers knew my situation, and my counselor found Second Home as a possible solution to my housing problem. Because of my quickly approaching due date, the staff at Second Home worked quickly to connect me with potential home providers, and I had phone interviews and then selected a family to meet with for a meeting. We asked one another questions, and became comfortable about the prospect of home-sharing. I moved into their house on a Saturday and our baby was born the following Thursday.
When I moved into their house, I did not expect to form such a strong, lasting bond with the host family. I credit Second Home with getting us off to a great start by supporting and facilitating and successful home-sharing arrangement. They helped us to establish clear expectations and ground rules as part of the home-sharing agreement, and were there to offer encouragement and assistance if any issues arose.
Our host family was very respectful, kind, and encouraging, as my now-husband and I navigated the first months of parenting. I graduated from high school 3 months later, and was able to walk with my class with my host family, now-husband, and our baby in the audience. We lived with our host family for about 6 months, and then moved on to live with extended family.
Second Home provided more than just safe housing, it connected me with people who loved, supported and believed in me. It provided me with another family to be part of, who welcomed my baby and I in with open arms and open hearts. This was an incredibly tumultuous and scary time in my life, being a pregnant high school student. I can’t imagine what my child’s early life would have been like if I did not have a calm, safe, loving environment to figure out how to care for a little baby.
The mother talked with me about parenting and relationships and any other problems that I was facing. We were invited to be part of their daily lives, taking turns cooking meals and eating dinner together. They were understanding and flexible and provided a stable home for us as my life got turned upside down living with a newborn. They transported me to doctor’s appointments, and invited us to pick out snacks and ingredients for the grocery list. We felt totally welcomed into their family as we helped with house cleaning, joined them at church, and went for walks together in the park by their house.
I am blessed to say this host family has remained a core part of our lives since then, and we remain very good friends to this day. She and the host family’s child regularly enjoy playing together at their house. The mother and I talk daily, and we reminisce about how sad it would be if we hadn’t met through this situation and didn’t know one another.
My family is very grateful that we had this experience and that Second Home intervened in my situation. That sentiment is certainly shared by the host family as well. If any student found themselves in a situation like mine where they’re uncertain about their housing, I would absolutely hope and pray that they could get connected with an excellent host home like Second Home did for me. Having stable housing with a host family who wants to have you around, opened their home to you, and are willing to support you in your endeavors makes all the difference at a critical time of life.