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Fostering Hopes And H3 Collective

Fostering Hopes And H3 Collective

two children smiling from behind a tree

Children and young adults who survive abuse and neglect continue to face tremendous challenges even after escaping unsafe homes. Foster care homes can provide a critical refuge for support and healing. However, a scarcity of foster parents in Western North Carolina makes it challenging – and for young adults, sometimes impossible – to secure safe, supportive and stable housing. “The number of children entering care far outweighs the number of families getting licensed,” says Alex Williams, President and Founder of Fostering Hopes. 

In Buncombe and Henderson Counties, there are approximately 500 children and 150 teens and young adults in the foster care system. Of that number, close to 40% must leave their home county for placement due to the lack of resources, including the availability of affordable housing.  

“Across the state, the overwhelming majority of county Department of Social Services (DSS) offices must send over 35% of children out of the county for placement,” says Alex, “Many rural WNC counties have very few licensed foster homes, so large numbers of those children are sent to other parts of the state for care.”  

Many children bounce from home to home or rely on hotels, sibling groups are often separated, and many young adults are aging out of the system before receiving the care they need. For these young adults in particular, this lack of support significantly increases their risk of homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancies, and suicide.  

These issues emphasize the importance of an “it takes a village” approach, as survivors rely heavily on their community for support, guidance and assistance. Foster parents, social workers, residential care facilities, volunteers and organizations like Fostering Hopes and the H3 Collective (H3C) work in tandem and around the clock to provide services and resources to vulnerable children and young adults. In 2021, Fostering Hopes and H3 Collective merged to combine resources and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their programs.  

The core mission of H3C is reflected in “H3,” which represents Homes, Hope and Healing for youth in need. Working in Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania and Madison counties, H3C and Fostering Hopes have acquired 19 acres of land to build homes for future house parents and sibling groups.  

Through the collaboration of community partners and donors and with funding from Dogwood, phase one of H3C’s development plan is underway, and construction is complete for the first home, a beautiful five bedroom, three bath home for five Buncombe County youth and their house parents. In Henderson County, H3C has acquired two homes on eight acres of land that will be renovated to house two young adults each, with room to construct additional homes in the future.

In Transylvania County, they have partnered with Biltmore Church to purchase an existing home located on their Brevard campus, which the church is offering at 50% below its market value. Fostering Hopes and H3C look forward to building a new home on this property to serve children in the county as they continue to develop their relationships with Biltmore Church and Transylvania County DSS.

With house parents receiving specialized and committed support from Fostering Hopes and H3C, including no-cost housing, childcare, transportation assistance, meals and home maintenance, they are equipped to nurture a hopeful and loving home environment without undue financial burdens. Much of the labor support comes from community members such as church groups, donors, volunteers, and local businesses.  

“We want to create a table that everyone can find a seat at. Even if you can’t house a child, there are ways that you can make a difference in a child’s life. Something as simple as mowing the lawn gives time back to foster parents that they can spend with their children,” says Alex.  

Meanwhile, Fostering Hopes focuses on educating the local community about the realities of foster care, developing foster care programs to support families and children, and sustaining those programs through the support, guidance and input of dedicated staff members. Through relationships and partnerships with local county DSS agencies, Fostering Hopes acts as a conduit between community-based support programs and the children and families in the community who need those services. 

The work of Fostering Hopes and H3C specifically targets those who are at higher risk of relocation, including larger sibling groups, teenagers and young people aging out of the system. To them, it is essential to allow kids to remain in their home community where they may maintain supportive connections, stay connected with siblings, attend school or find work, and receive continued guidance as they enter adulthood. 

“Our firm belief is that when the community as a whole comes together, we can provide the support for children and families they so desperately need.”

– Alex Williams, President and Founder of Fostering Hopes NC

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Health & Wellness | Goal 4

Increase Access to Behavioral Health and Substance Use Prevention and Treatment

Support programs and networks that reduce deaths, treat addiction, and prevent first use

Objective 4.1: Reduce opioid overdose mortality throughout the region

Objective 4.2: Reduce untreated behavioral health and substance use disorder in disproportionately affected communities

Objective 4.3: Prevent and reduce behavioral health issues and substance use (tobacco, alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs) in youth

Health & Wellness | Goal 3

Address Health Disparities

Help reduce disparities based on race, location, education and income factors

Objective 3.1: Improve health outcomes for women and infants in rural and low-income communities and communities of color

Objective 3.2: Reduce the prevalence of common chronic health diseases in disproportionately affected communities

Objective 3.3: Increase effectiveness of health care through delivery of culturally aligned services

Health & Wellness | Goal 2

Increase Access to Whole-Person Health Care

Invest in integrated heath care with seamless connections to supportive services

Objective 2.1: Increase the number of people with affordable health insurance coverage

Objective 2.2: Increase the available workforce for primary and allied health care services

Objective 2.3: Increase access to comprehensive and integrated care

Objective 2.4: Increase access to community-based services in low-income, elderly and rural communities

Health & Wellness | Goal 1

Support and Build Healthy Communities

Support communities that promote healthy living and resiliency and help mitigate the impact of trauma, isolation and stress on individuals and families, especially those experiencing poverty

Objective 1.1: Decrease adverse experiences (ACEs and traumatic violence) and improve individual and family resiliency

Objective 1.2: Increase access to community environments that promote healthy living and social connectedness across the age continuum

Economic Opportunity | Goal 4

Foster Entrepreneurship

Support a well-funded, sustainable, competitive entrepreneur and small business ecosystem throughout the region

Objective 4.1: Increase the number of Person of Color (POC)-led small businesses throughout the region

Objective 4.2: Increase the number of rural small businesses throughout the region

Economic Opportunity | Goal 3

Build Economic Ecosystems

Help build a regional economic ecosystem that supports increased creation/retention of jobs and business ownership

Objective 3.1: Improve access to higher-paying jobs throughout the region, targeting the lowest income populations

Objective 3.2: Increase and retain quality jobs

Objective 3.3: Stimulate economic growth, catalyzing businesses and revenue

Economic Opportunity | Goal 2

Promote Work Readiness

Help build a skilled workforce with the knowledge and technical abilities to excel in a wide range of industry employment opportunities that provide a competitive, sustainable wage

Objective 2.1: Close the educational attainment gap in WNC, staying on pace with regional and county-specific projections (myFutureNC 2030).

Economic Opportunity | Goal 1

Develop a Comprehensive Data Resource

Source, analyze and share a comprehensive, county-by-county data set that paints a full picture of work readiness, economic development and entrepreneurial needs and opportunities specific to Western North Carolina

Education | Goal 3

Support Higher Education Career Readiness

Work in tandem with Economic Opportunity Strategic Priority to invest in career readiness at the community college and university levels

Objective 4.1: Close the educational attainment gap in WNC, staying on pace with regional and county-specific projections (myFutureNC 2030).

Education | Goal 2

Improve K-12 Education

Support K-12 learning experiences with the resources and sustainability to provide an excellent academic and social-emotional education, so that all students graduate ready for college or career

Objective 2.1: Address teacher workforce challenges

Objective 2.2: Equip families of students to support academic growth and social-emotional health

Objective 2.3: Increase capacity of partners to provide supports and services, particularly for children facing challenges related to poverty, systemic racism, being differently abled or English language learners

Education | Goal 1

Improve Early Childhood Education Ecosystem

Invest in an improved early childhood education ecosystem with the resources and sustainability to provide developmentally appropriate, affordable and accessible education and care to support ages birth to five, so that all children in WNC enter kindergarten ready to learn

Objective: Address early childhood educator workforce challenges

Education | Goal 4

Develop a Comprehensive Landscape Study

Source, analyze and share a comprehensive set of publicly available data that provides a regularly updated, county-by-county picture of access, workforce and student outcomes in early childhood education and K-12 education specific to Western North Carolina

Housing | Goal 5

Use Impact Investments to Create Affordable and Workforce Housing

Loans, guarantees, and other financial tools to leverage funding opportunities

Housing | Goal 4

Create and Preserve Housing Units for Persons Below 50% of the Median Income

Increase affordable housing for lowest-income individuals and families

Objective 4.1: Create rental units for households below 50% of the median income

Objective 4.2: Help families pay no more than 30% of their income on housing

Objective 4.3: Create and preserve communities in a way that is representative of the WNC natural landscape

Housing | Goal 3

Create and Preserve Senior Housing

Support age-appropriate resources in affordable and workforce units, rental and owned

Objective 3.1: Create needed rental and homeownership opportunities for seniors

Objective 3.2: Incorporate supportive services in rental housing developments

Objective 3.3: Increase use of universal design in development

Housing | Goal 2

Create and Preserve Supportive Housing Rental Units

Invest in housing with sustainable supports for physical and mental health and wellbeing

Objective 2.1: Create new supportive housing

Objective 2.2: Preserve existing supportive housing

Objective 2.3: Leverage state and federal funds

Single story home in the midst of being build with 3 volunteers helping.

Housing | Goal 1

Support Healthy and Safe Revitalization Opportunities

Support healthy and safe revitalizations that work against displacement and gentrification, preserve home ownership and create generational wealth.

Objective 1.1: Revitalize Neighborhoods

Objective 1.2: Repurpose existing structures to minimize environmental impact

Objective 1.3: Support home ownership