AUGUST 2015 – The Houston Transitional Living Program at Sipe’s Orchard Home offers a supportive, residential program for homeless and disadvantaged 17-21 year-olds. These youth come from broken homes, shelters, and the foster care system. Studies show that these young people are unlikely to finish high school, maintain their health, or earn a living wage; they are more likely to turn to crime, drugs, prostitution, or suicide, and to perpetuate a dependency upon public assistance.
- Every year in the Catawba Valley, about sixty 18-year-olds age out of foster care without a home to go to; 80 to 100 youth are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
- From a local school official: “Every day our school system is faced with a student who has been turned away from his or her home.”
Sipe’s provides a home as well as the guidance and structure these youth need to get on their feet and become successfully independent. The program helps the residents finish or continue their educations, find jobs, and master the many skills they lack such as driving, cooking, communicating, managing money, etc.
Sipe’s receives far more referrals for this program than it can accommodate. In order to address this overwhelming demand, Sipe’s is renovating two buildings on its campus which will double the current capacity.
Less than 10% of the four million 18-year-olds in America live on their own. Yet society unrealistically expects some of the least equipped 18-year-olds–those from dysfunctional families or the foster care system–to succeed. This is a growing problem in North Carolina.
For 70 years, Sipe’s Orchard Home has served children with a variety of services. Sipe’s is located in Catawba County and serves youth from throughout North Carolina. Sipe’s is a United Way Agency and has been nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation since 2001.