Homes open in South Bend for teens aging out of the foster care system

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Want to know what’s good in Michiana? Newly built homes in South Bend will help teenagers aging out of the foster care system.

People gathered Thursday in the 800 block of Harrison Avenue for the opening of the Oasis Community.

“I remember being at a community meeting a couple of years ago when they were thinking about doing this, and it was just like so exciting to be like, ‘Wow, if they can pull that off,’ and they pulled it off,” said Sam Centellas, who is a community leader.

This initiative will help youth become successful adults.

“What can we do to help these young people and support them better as they transition to this next phase of life?... There’s a lot of good safety nets and a lot of good programs that are available, but what’s missing, I think, for a lot of these young people is just the relationship and community. Who do I call? Who do I trust? Who do I rely on?” said Matt Borst, who is the Executive Director of Village to Village International.

Village to Village International spearheaded this project. The idea originated out of Illinois.

Oasis will eventually have seven duplexes, a community center, and two single-family homes.

Kids aging out of the system will live upstairs in studio apartments.

“And then downstairs are what we call cottage friends living in a two-bedroom unit to just kind of help build relationship and community,” said Borst.

Community leaders said this project is a win-win: not only is it helping youth, but it is also helping with the city’s revitalization efforts.

“But also improving a neighborhood and a block and being able to be a shining light for an area of town that can say like, ‘Hey, development is coming here. Improvements are coming here. And this is a great place to be,’” said Centellas.

These homes are funded through private donations and grants from St. Joseph County. If you would like to donate, click here.