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Goshen nonprofits partner to build affordable housing for youth exiting foster care

Members of Lacasa and Goshen officials cut the ribbon at an open house on Madison Street in April, 2024.
Photo courtesy Lacasa Inc.
Members of Lacasa and Goshen officials cut the ribbon at an open house on Madison Street in April, 2024.

With rising rents and home prices, more and more young people are living with their family while they begin their careers.

But for youth who have been in foster care in their upbringing, that’s not always an option and it’s something the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority is hoping to change.

The state agency is launching a pilot program in four sites around the state to build affordable housing units for young adults who age out of the foster case system. In Goshen,Lacasa Inc. is partnering with the state agency and Bashor Children’s Home to build those units specifically for 18-23 year-olds.

Lacasa CEO Jeremy Stutsman said Lacasa should be receiving around $2 million for the project. He said he became convinced the new program was needed when he learned that foster kids are at a heightened risk of homelessness.

“Twenty-five percent of all kids who age out of foster care actually end up homeless within four years," Stutsman said. "So we saw this as a partnership as a chance to do something.”

Lacasa is receiving state funding to build the units, while Bashor will provide wraparound services like GED planning and career training. Stutsman said Bashor will also take the lead in identifying young men and women who are good candidates for the affordable housing slots. Residents wouldn't be kicked out once they reach 23, but the goal would be form many to earn enough they're able to move on to better digs.

Stutsman says they have identified a site, but are not reveling that publicly until a purchase is made. He did say Lacasa expects to break ground late this year or in early 2025. And while housing geared to foster youth is a new pilot program the state is starting, Stutsman sees it as a good fit for Lacasa's mission of proving housing to less advantaged residents in the Goshen community.

"We're always excited to be on the front edge of something. When the state and governor's office, that was pretty exciting to us and we wanted to jump on it as soon as possible," Stutsman said. "We're doing all we can to start to affect that housing shortage that we're having."

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.