why is a bookstore doing housing?

When a young person doesn't know they will sleep it is really hard for them to show up for themselves at More Than Words. There isn't a good solution: there are too few developmentally appropriate options available, especially for youth with behavioral health issues.

We could no longer stand by and watch our youth struggle with homelessness.

"It was hard for me to focus on getting a job because when you’re homeless all you can focus on is where you’re going to sleep that night. Humans need water, food and shelter.

- Malichi, Graduate

the data

"If I was not in the program I would most likely be homeless. I got kicked out of my previous group home. I didn’t take it hard at first because I had agreed to the rules, but over time I realized a youth should not be losing housing for breaking a rule."

- Luis, Graduate

a comprehensive approach to youth housing

our housing model

We support 15+ youth already engaged in our job training program with housing in our Single Room Occupancy housing program. Youth receive free rent subsidized by Liberty Mutual Foundation, deep supports, and a forgiving pathway to independence.

developmentally appropriate single room occupancy units

Think college dorm: a single room occupancy unit offers privacy, safety, and limited independence. Youth experience a landlord relationship and have onsite support.

intensive services and community connections

Youth are not isolated, but continue to be plugged into programming at More Than Words to complete job training and move into other jobs and education.

onsite support and life skills coaching

Community Resource staff visit youth at home 1-2 times per week, helping youth with budgeting, grocery shopping and cooking, mental health, and more.

progressive growth toward independene

With rent fully subsidized, youth make monthly "rent" payments into savings for future housing, education, and security. "Rent" grows throughout the 1-3 year program as youth ramp up to live independently.

advocacy for a better model for transition-aged youth

More Than Words is not a large scale housing program: we are here due to lack of existing solutions. Our goal is to advance this as a long-term solution for the state and other anchor nonprofits.

"I don’t have to worry about asking someone when I can do things. I’ve been learning how to pay rent, manage subscriptions, budget, deal and with landlords. Since moving in I've also grown spiritually. I have space to learn more about my personal health and needs, specifically as a black woman."

- Emperis, Participant

why this works

With a goal of replication not scale, we believe that key elements of this model can be adopted by state agencies and other anchor nonprofits to expand positive options for transition-aged youth.

  • Relationships-First not Housing-First

    Hou​sing is plugged into our program where youth are already connected.

  • Trauma-Informed and Forgiving

    Youth with a history of truama don't take a straight path to success so we offer many opportunities to try again.

  • Not "In Your Face"

    Teenagers and young adults are not surrounded by staff and rules. They have privacy and can make mistakes in relative safety.

  • Cost-Effective and Realistic

    With single-room occupancy rent only at about $10,000 per year, it is achiveable for youth to take over after 3 years.

how to help

Join the More Than Words community to be part of the solution for youth experiencing homelessness. Make a donation to support our innovative programming, and sign up for emails to recieve action alerts to advocate for change.