My First Home
Creating a Foundation
My First Home
My First Home help 18-26 year olds, who were in the foster care system, furnish their living space and make it homey. To do this, we help with the following items: dressers, nightstands, sofas, love-seats, coffee tables, end tables, TV stands, kitchen tables with chairs, desks, chairs, comforters, blankets, lamps, dishware, silverware, art, rugs, decorative items and more!
Apply to join My First Home and experience connections with community members who find it fun to transform an apartment into a comfortable and homey space. Our My First Home Volunteers will assist you with small and large furnishings as well as provide guidance on smart purchasing and expenses related to the home.
How It Works
Referral. JIT relies on referrals from trusted sources including San Diego County Child Welfare Services, Independent Living Skills Providers, programs specializing in housing such as the HOME Program, Transitional Housing and Transitional Living Programs, and many other organizations and agencies in San Diego serving current and former foster youth. Clients can apply through self referral or referrals from collaborating programs.
Processing. Program Staff scrutinize the application and facilitate communication among the youth and his/her case manager, donors, and the My First Home Guide. Youth who need just a few items are assisted by staff or by a Volunteer Guide on one of the monthly storage days. For a full setup, program staff coordinates a volunteer team.
Setup. Based on an applicant’s request and current inventory of furnishings and funds, program staff determine the specific resources to be allocated. Staff pair applicants with a JIT First Home Guide team that goes on site for the actual setup. The home is furnished with gently used donated goods as well as newly purchased items. Once a youth gets an apartment, a JIT First Home Guide assists the youth in shopping, either during our monthly storage day or at a local store, for their furnishings, which might include things such as bedding, vacuum, pots and pans, etc. to complete the setup.
Participation in Other JIT Programs. Youth are given an overview of all JIT programs and may apply for other services.
Evaluation. Follow-up information is solicited from each youth annually via an online survey.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: Apply by using our online application system. Remember to fill out the “Intake Application” before applying for any JIT services.
Q: If I applied for My First Home in the past, can I receive another setup?
A: Youth must apply each time for all program services, including My First Home. If an applicant has received a setup in the past, program staff will work one-on-one to assess whether or not services can be provided again, depending upon the circumstances.
Q: If I am participating in a Transitional Housing Program (THP+) can I receive furniture from JIT’s My First Home?
A: No. We collaborate closely with agencies providing support to former foster youth in San Diego County. Because the THP+ programs provide furnishings for their participants, we provide furniture for others in need. AB12, TLPs, or the HOME Program are accepted transitional housing programs we do support.
Q: I have a roommate who was not in the foster care system. Can I still get help?
A: Yes. Although we cannot provide furnishings for anyone who is not a former foster youth, we will provide approved applicants with furniture for his / her living space. We will provide items for children if they have been donated from someone in the community, but we do not solicit children’s furniture or furnishings on behalf of an applicant. Our mission is to provide resources and connections to transitioning foster youth ages 18-26.
Q: Will I need to provide any paperwork?
A: Applicants may be asked to provide verification of being in foster care as a child; pay stubs or proof of enrollment in school. On occasion, staff may ask for other documentation to process an application.
Q: How long until I receive notification from JIT?
A: Participants will receive a phone or email from Program Staff no later than 72 hours.
Q: What if I apply and do not receive a phone call or email within 72 hours?
A: Staff make every effort to contact applicants via telephone or email. Because sometimes the telephone number of applicants are out of minutes when we attempt to call, if you have not heard from a JIT member, please call Terrance Lewis at 619-384-6813 or email Terrance@jitfosteryouth.org.
Q: What happens if my application is approved?
A: Once Program Staff have approved a request, we will set up an individual plan for a home set up. This may include attending one of our monthly storage days, picking up furniture directly from a donor, or Volunteer Guides dropping items off.
Q: How long does the process take?
A: Once Program Staff have approved a request, we will devise an individual plan for a home set up. A full set up typically takes about six weeks for all the items to be received.
Q: Do I have to be available to receive help?
A: Yes, you must be home in order to receive assistance. My First Home is volunteer-driven, meaning that members in the community are providing their time to support participants. In order to provide a meaningful experience, we expect recipients to be available for a scheduled appointment, be courteous, and be kind to anyone associated with JIT.
Q: What happens if my application is denied?
A: Program staff will evaluate each application individually and provide an explanation after processing. Youth may apply for program services in the future unless indicated otherwise by staff.
Q: Who do I contact for more information?
A: Terrance Lewis: Terrance@jitfosteryouth.org; Phone: 619-384-6813
Q: Can I send a note of thanks?
A: Absolutely! We encourage each and every participant to write a hand-written thank you to our donors and volunteers. JIT is a small organization and, without the support of members in the community, we would be unable to provide furnishings for our young people! Contact our office so we can help facilitate.
The effectiveness of JIT’s services is evaluated in two ways – one for short term outcomes that meet immediate needs and another for long term impact toward our ultimate goal. In FY2015, My First Home helped establish safe, stable homes through 127 distributions of furniture and other household items because a consistent place to call home is the first essential step toward creating a secure future. It also meant 46% of My First Home recipients were also connected to other JIT services.
In Their Own Words
One MFH setup five years ago inspired our 2009 annual My First Home for the Holidays event. Amanda Hasana was in foster care for nine years after domestic violence claimed her mother’s life. When she turned 18, JIT helped her move into her first apartment, furnished it, and filled her pantry with food. Today, Amanda is thriving as a senior at San Diego State and interns at a group home facility. In Amanda’s own words, “Just in Time gave me the first place I could call home, a safe haven. The first night that I slept in my own bed, I was so happy—surrounded by furnishings filled with love. The statistics on foster youth are so terrible and yet I was lucky enough to be stepping out into the world with a huge support system.”
Becky and her sister were locked away and nearly starved to death until they were rescued and became part of the foster care system. During her seventeen years in foster care, Becky was placed in eight different foster homes, not including group homes. When she finished high school, JIT stepped in with words of encouragement, tech tools, and a complete set-up of her empty apartment. Now, Becky works part-time for a local retail company, attends Mira Costa Community College, and dreams of becoming an attorney. She also volunteers as a youth ambassador to assist former foster youth throughout San Diego County.
Growing up in the poorest areas of Milwaukee, Latroy moved from one home to another, until he emancipated at age 18. When he moved to San Diego to begin a new life, he also became a full-time student at San Diego City College. JIT first assisted Latroy because he had no bed, home furnishings, or food. Today, Latroy attends Lubbock Christian University as a full-time undergrad and basketball star. JIT’s services provided him with many essential tools. Now as he begins his third year of collegiate studies, Latroy is creating his own destiny.
In 2004, JIT provided Candy with a MFH setup. She knew that someone genuinely cared about her and wanted to help her transition from foster care. In June, Candy graduated with a B.S. from SDSU and now is working in a law office. A strong advocate for foster youth, she plans to apply to graduate school and hopes to serve in the Peace Corps.
After living in transitional homes for two years, Sade moved to her own place with nothing but a computer. MFH completely furnished her apartment and volunteers took her shopping to help her select her own comforter and sheets. In Sade’s words, “The comforter was sky blue and chocolate brown. My apartment turned out real cool and I have the most comfortable bed in the world.” A superb athlete, Sade graduated from college with a degree in sports medicine.
In 2007, Sam received an “amazing bedroom set, living room furniture and a comforter” (his words). The assistance he received from JIT allowed him to concentrate on his education without the added pressure of furnishing his home. A graduate of UCSD, Sam is a youth advocate and is attending graduate school at San Diego State University.
Just In Time helped me furnish my first apartment with a bed, sofa, table and chairs and all of the other stuff you need to live. They also paid for my first month’s rent and deposit to help me get off the streets and start my new life. When I received a laptop, it was the most essential tool for my music business and, without it, I would still be dreaming about my life instead of living it.
When Just in Time first encountered me, I was headed in the wrong direction and on the verge of either starting a whole new life or falling back into a bad situation. The volunteers of JIT didn’t just deliver a few items for my home. When I called them to talk about problems in my life, they always took my calls. I needed to know that someone was out there who cared about me. It is good to know that, given all the bad in the world, there is an organization that strives to provide support for youth that need it the most. That is uncommon where I come from in this world. I now have a mentor from JIT who is just like having a real mom.
Currently, I am the owner and operator of Full Control Entertainment, which focuses on educating and involving current and former foster youth in the entertainment industry. I recently released a 9 track CD which features current and former foster youth performing hip-hop, rock, metal, and spoken word style songs. I am also involved in a play, “Telling Stories” funded by the Playwrights Project, acted, produced and written by current and former foster youth. In addition, I have been involved in a campaign, supported by KBPS, to educate and examine domestic violence in teen relationships. The ad campaign aired via radio on 10 major radio stations throughout Southern California. In 2008 I received the Casey Family Programs 2008 Ruth Massinga Award. This award recognizes individuals who show leadership and significant contribution in the area of foster care. I was recognized for my distinguished service to the community and for my leadership and volunteering efforts.
Thank You To Our Major Investors
Mission Hills United Church of Christ
Sheila & Dick Murphy
Stephen & Lynne Doyle Family Foundation
San Diego County Employees’ Charitable Foundation
Nice Guys of San Diego, Inc
Sempra Energy Foundation
La Jolla County Day School
Kiwanis Club of La Jolla