CROSSVILLE (WATE) – Growing up in the foster care system comes with certain challenges, but they don’t necessarily end when that child becomes an adult. Just think about all the things parents provide to their kids moving out of the house and getting on their feet.
A special apartment complex in Crossville is designed for young people leaving foster care.
According to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, more than 800 teenagers transition out of life in foster care each year. Their counselors say permanent housing helps them succeed.
Apartment one is now Taylor Swafford’s home. For many just like her, once you turn 18, there’s no where to go.
“I was in foster care since 13 and I bounced around a lot,” said Swafford, 20.
“We look at certain populations and really try to evaluate the need across the state. Kids aging out of foster care is such a deep need in our state,” said Katie Moore with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
That’s why THDA donated grant money to help build this apartment complex, a permanent home to help with their future.
“Without that they can’t pursue other opportunities. They can’t pursue employment. They can’t pursue educational options and many of them are still working on achieving a high school diploma,” said David Aguzzi with the DCS Office of Independent Living.
There is hope.
“This can be a model that can be replicated in other areas of the state,” said Aguzzi.
Three others transitioning out of foster care will soon become Swafford’s neighbors. Swafford says the most exciting part is getting to decorate.
“The bedroom is purple and gray and in here is dark blue and gray, and then I’ll just coordinate the kitchen,” she said.
Swafford is excited to finally have a place to call her own and raise her two little girls.
“I can’t wait to start moving in. It’s really exciting and happy. They’ll be able to make it their own,” she said.
People can apply through the Crossville Housing Authority for these apartments and sign a one year lease though they can stay as long as needed.