Supported housing in Hajnówka

04 września 2023

The Foundation for Good Initiatives implements a policy of support for young adults transitioning out of residential care institutions. Together with our partners, we have completed the renovation of a supported housing unit in Hajnówka, which took us nearly 3 months of work and over 50,000 PLN (~11,500 EUR). The chances of a successful transition to adulthood for our wards who have experienced institutional care have significantly increased – and that, in itself, is invaluable.

Adapting the approximately 35 m2 housing unit required a lot of effort. We not only brought the finishing touches to a state of pleasant usability but also rearranged the layout of the rooms to facilitate meaningful cohabitation for future tenants. The property remains owned by the local municipality but is managed by the District Family Support Center (Powiatowe Centrum Pomocy Rodzinie), allowing young adults who have experienced foster care, including former beneficiaries of our partner institution in Białowieża, to benefit from it. The two rooms and kitchen will serve as an incubator for independence, so we are thankful for every nail hammered. Thanks are also due to the renovation team from Colgate-Palmolive, who, as part of their employee volunteering program, took care of the finishing work, including painting the entire space.

What exactly are supported housing apartments for individuals transitioning to independence?

In the case of spaces like the one in Hajnówka, colloquial terms are also used: training apartments or temporary apartments. This aptly describes their unique character. Young adults who are nearly ready to leave residential care institutions or foster families gain the opportunity to gradually acquire the skills needed for full independence. Such an option primarily exists when they continue their education. Hence, these living arrangements bear resemblance to typical student housing, albeit with due acknowledgment of their unique characteristics. Similarly, just as some students receive partial support from their parents, those transitioning out of foster care also benefit from the opportunity to access additional support and time to establish themselves securely, bolstered by emotional and material stability. It’s not difficult to imagine such a need for young adults aged 19 or 20, even if life has been mostly smooth sailing thus far: the need for security and stability. Even then, they are not ready to face the overwhelming responsibilities that await all of us in adulthood. Therefore, the need to support individuals from residential care institutions who lack family resources enabling a swift start in life is particularly relevant.

Young adults who are nearly ready to leave residential care institutions or foster families gain the opportunity to gradually acquire the skills needed for full independence

Supported housing offers them numerous conveniences. Primarily, the financial burden is significantly alleviated as the District Family Support Center (Powiatowe Centrum Pomocy Rodzinie) covers the majority of expenses, including rent and utilities. Tenants are primarily responsible for their daily living needs, but in times of crisis, they have access to various additional support options. One such option is reaching out to a transition support worker or social worker. The transition support worker is chosen by the young adult while they are still in foster care, preparing for independence. This individual may be someone trusted from their personal circle, but more often, it’s a staff member from the residential care institution with whom they share longstanding relationships and an understanding of their needs. These individuals also provide emotional support through guidance, conversation, and a form of mentoring.

Supported housing is indeed a privilege, and as such, it comes with clear rules and responsibilities. Adherence to regulations and proper maintenance of shared property is essential. The possibility of being removed from the support program serves as a strong incentive to take the situation seriously, as there is effectively no option to revert back. Young adults transitioning from foster care do not have the option of returning to residential care facilities, so they must confront the challenges of independence, navigating both its rewards and its difficulties.

Ready to roam? Let’s head for home!

The Foundation for Good Initiatives has been overseeing general renovation efforts for several months now, but the finalization was left in the hands of volunteers from Colgate-Palmolive. Initially, we reconfigured the layout of the rooms, replaced floors, doors, and door frames, renovated the bathroom (with a complete overhaul of fixtures and tiles), and now, on August 25, 2023, a 10-person team from Colgate is painting walls and ceilings, cleaning, washing windows, and bringing everything to a state where the white glove test will be flawless. The supported housing in Hajnówka will primarily benefit individuals leaving residential care institutions in Białowieża. This marks another step forward in our strong partnership, marked by trust that both parties are putting their hearts into improving the living conditions of children and youth.


Start a good correspondence!

By signing up for the newsletter, you consent to the processing of personal data by Fundacja Dobrych Inicjatyw for the purpose of providing the newsletter service in accordance with the Privacy Policy.