Host Home OK
Host Home OK is a collaborative community project to address shelter and appropriate housing shortages for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.
The program thrives on the generous hearts of community volunteers that open their homes to carefully selected youth in need of short term support while they navigate their unique situations.
- Why Host Home OK?
- Who can volunteer?
- How can I volunteer?
- Is Host Home OK the right fit for me?
Oklahoma City Public Schools counted 2,474 homeless students at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Of those, 2,075 were couch homeless. Outside of the school system an average of 82 young adults are surveyed each winter either in shelters or on the streets of Oklahoma City (2016-2020).
Even with this data, it's difficult to count unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness because they often try not to be located. Some don’t access services because they don’t know about them.
Host Home OK strives to create a safe, supportive environment for youth experiencing homelessness. As a Host Home, you can help a local youth transition out of homelessness and into the next phase of their life.
In order to be an eligible host, you must:
- Have a spare bedroom or private space.
- Be at least 24 years old.
- Be part of the LGBTQ+ community or an affirming ally.
- Live within 45 minutes of downtown Oklahoma City, and have lived in the area for one year.
- Have or be willing to get homeowners/renters insurance.
- Have a commitment to social justice.
- Complete the Host Home OK application as well as an OSBI background check for anyone in the home over 18 years old.
In order to become a fully-credentialed Host Home through Host Home OK, you must do the following:
- Complete the Host Home OK volunteer application.
- Complete an OSBI background check for every person over the age of 18 living in the house.
- Complete an informal interview with the project coordinator or program representative.
- Complete the Host Home orientation training either in person or online (to be scheduled by the program coordinator).
Becoming a host is a leap of faith, and we recognize that it's not for everyone. We find that community members who align with our Host Home values are a good fit for Host Home OK:
- We seek to recognize and challenge systems of power that perpetuate barriers and injustice in young people's lives.
- We believe in supporting youth regardless of their racial, ethnic or cultural identity, religious affiliations or lack thereof, gender identity or sexual orientation.
- We understand that all youth will sometimes make choices we don't agree with and we acknowledge the youth's right to make those choices for themselves.
- We believe that youth benefit from living with adult allies who are aware of the inherent power dynamics of the Host Home model and strive to minimize misuse of power.
Host Home OK currently provides supports to youth ages 14-17 who are experiencing homelessness but do not meet DHS criteria to enter custody, youth ages 18-21 who have aged out of foster care, or young adults ages 18-24 who are experiencing homelessness of any form.
Host Home OK is primarily available in the OKC metro at this time. To be an eligible host, you must live no more than 45 minutes away from the downtown OKC area.
Home Home OK will only ask host volunteers to do what is most comfortable for them, and as such - you are able to opt in or out of what age groups you do not feel comfortable hosting.
Host Homes can be houses, apartments, mobile homes or townhomes. As long as they meet criteria to be suitable for human habitation and pass the home safety checklist.
Youth eligible for Host Home OK have to be actively working with an approved Host Home OK case management program, have a certain level of maturity and stability demonstrated prior to referral and agree to all program requirements.
Transportation assistance is provided to all Host Home youth when possible and a host volunteer helping that youth is at their own discretion. Note that if you are hosting a minor, you may be asked to assist with getting them to certain important locations.
Hosts will receive training and orientation prior to a youth moving into their home. In addition, hosts will have access to the program coordinator for support, including weekly check-ins.
Host Homes are designed to be a shelter alternative versus a housing program. We set the goal of short-term placements lasting no longer than 6 months. Anything further will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
All Host Homes are voluntary. Hosts are able to quit or freeze your status in the program at any time so long as you are not currently hosting a youth.