[RAYS YOUTH SERVICES] Host Homes: What Are They and How Do They Help?

June 1, 2023

A Safe Place For Youth

Through a federal Runaway and Homeless Youth grant, Foundations Health and Wholeness provides a Host Home program through their RAYS Youth Services Program. Foster homes that are licensed through any of Foundations branch offices throughout the state of Wisconsin can help house youth in need of a safe place to stay. Our most urgent need is in Brown, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan Counties.

What is a host home and how to they help?

Host Homes provide an emergency service to youth who are runaway, homeless, or who do not otherwise have a safe place to stay for the night. Often, youth and teens run away from home or become homeless due to family conflicts, abuse, and/or neglect; in the United States, over a million youth experience homelessness or become a runaway each year. In Wisconsin alone, nearly 20,000 youth are identified as homeless annually.

Host Home providers are licensed and trained treatment foster homes who have opened their homes to provide short term safety and shelter to youth in need. Case management, non-clinical counseling, and referrals to other needed services can be  provided through RAYS Youth Services or partner agencies.

Host Home placements are short-term (up to 21 nights) with intensive case management by RAYS, biological family/guardian visits, and/or relationship support, which attempts to help the youth safely return home or to otherwise secure, safe, and stable long-term housing. In an effort to standardize host home care in Wisconsin and ensure the safety and highest quality of care to the youth we serve, Foundations Health and Wholeness utilizes the same licensing standards for both Host Homes and licensed foster homes. Our Host Home program allows us to ensure vulnerable youth have access to secure housing, resources, and basic need items they need to stay safe and healthy.

They need you. We need you. Get licensed as a Host Home today.

Across Wisconsin, there are youth and teens in need of safe housing. Foundations is hoping to expand Host Home services to more Wisconsin youth in need of a safe place to stay until safe, long-term housing can be established. Consider opening your heart and home to youth in need!

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a Host Home, please reach out to Jackie Baumgart, Director of RAYS and Sheboygan Regional Foster Care Director, by phone at 920-619-1079.