Who We Help

The young adults we serve are a diverse set of individuals with unique circumstances. One thing they share in common is they have proven their readiness to make the next step onward in their independence through our help.

RonJohnsonRecipientEach of our recipients comes highly recommended through one of our partner organizations. Together with these organizations, we provide wrap around supports for recipients as they acquire the education and experience they need to become independent. In this way, we function much in the way a family network does for those who have never been homeless or  estranged from their family of origin.

We are unique in that we don’t limit our funding to specific needs; rather, our aim is to fill gaps in needed supports as young people age out of other resources. Some of the gaps we cover are the costs of higher education, safe and affordable housing, and preventive and acute medical care. We also actively mentor our recipients, helping them choose appropriate paths for their higher education keeping in mind the resources that are available to them. We enter into a relationship with our recipients and the partner organizations that serve them as an additional family member. Together, we  usher young people through their transitional process to total sustainability. This is a key point, critical to determining whether a survivor relapses into homelessness or moves on to independence.

The Step Onward Foundation helps young adult survivors of homelessness who are primarily from four groups of homeless children.

First Group: Foster Care Children Aging Out

We help survivors who as children  became homeless by being removed from their families due to abuse or neglect, and who do not have long term positive and sustaining relationships with foster or adoptive parents going into adulthood. Young adults in this situation are highly at risk of homelessness, joblessness, illness, incarceration, welfare dependency, early childbearing, and sexual and physical victimization.

Second group: Youth who as children remained in shelters with homeless parents or who left unsafe homes but were never in state care

These young adult survivors have very little access to resources and have either completely disconnected from their family of origin or have families who cannot help them and are often still struggling with addiction and or homelessness.  These children are even more at risk and have higher more at risk statistics than those ageing out of foster care.

Third group: International youth displaced by poverty and conflict

In recent years, partner organizations have requested services for international youth under their care. This is in response to the growing numbers of refugees seeking asylum and opportunity in the communities we serve. While we are primarily committed to supporting survivors of homelessness here in the United States, we allocate a portion of our annual fundraising to international recipients here and abroad.

Fourth group: Young adults and youth experiencing severe economic hardship due to acute illness

There are rising numbers of families at risk of homelessness due to acute illness and the associated medical expenses, travel and time required for treatment. The Cameren Trust is a restricted fund for these recipients.