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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Employment Preparation & Procurement, Homeless & Housing, Housing Support, Human Services, Job Training, Youth Development Programs

Mission: It is the mission of First Place to support foster youth in their transition to successful adulthood by promoting choices and strengthening individual and community resources.

Results: While 65% of California foster youth who “age out” of care become homeless immediately, 92% of former foster youth who go through the First Place program maintain safe and affordable housing. Over the last decade, First Place has had a profound impact on our youth participants. When compared to other transition age foster youth, First Place youth are: * five times less likely to experience homelessness * three times less likely to give birth before the age of 21 * three times less likely to be arrested * six times more likely to be enrolled in college * twice as likely to graduate from high school * twice as likely to be employed

Direct beneficiaries per year: 927 former foster youth

Geographic areas served: San Francisco County, Alameda County, Solano County, Contra Costa County

Programs: My first place, a scattered-site housing program, provides stability for at-risk foster youth, ages 18 to 24, through safe, permanent housing coupled with intensive transitional services necessary to achieve long-term self-sufficiency. Participants receive a range of support, including individualized case management, move-in assistance and supplies, roommate mediation, education and vocational counseling, life skills training, and community support.

my first place, a scattered-site housing program, provides stability for at-risk foster youth, ages 18 to 24, through safe, permanent housing coupled with intensive transitional services necessary to achieve long-term self-sufficiency. Participants receive a range of support, including individualized case management, move-in assistance and supplies, roommate mediation, education and vocational counseling, life skills training, and community support. .

independent living skills program (ilsp) and first foundation is offered to foster youth, ages 16 to 21, in san francisco and solano counties. Through ilsp, the organization provides a full range of services, including education and employment assistance, career development, family finding and permanency services, life skills workshops and community events. First foundation is an educational support program that begins with high school sophomores who are willing to commit to the program through high school graduation. Throughout high school, youth receive one-on-one support designed to help increase on-time high school graduation rates along with workshops on educational and social skills development.

steps to success, an education and employment program, provides at-risk foster youth, ages 18 to 24, with intensive one-on-one counseling and support in completing their high school diploma or ged certificate, enrolling in college, securing financial aid, and tutoring. The program supports youth with employment assistance, career planning, and in building their workplace skills, including job search and job retention. Youth also receive intensive, targeted academic remediation and training (as needed) to help them take tangible steps towards obtaining an industry-recognized certificate or enrollment in post-secondary education. Youth are given the opportunity to explore new careers and then select a career path, while receiving academic remediation and tutoring to ensure that they will succeed.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

The staff at First Place are highly qualified and dedicated, and the organization is well intentioned. There are some serious problems however, which are masked by misleading and selective outcomes reporting. The often quoted educational outcome for example, which reports the percentage of youth who enroll in an educational program as a marker of success, is vague and misleading. This percentage represents only the percentage of youth who enroll -- as in sign up for a class, usually with strong assistance from a staff member -- at a Community College or vocational program. This percentage does not represent the number of youth who graduate from an educational program, nor the number of youth who even complete the course for which they signed up. Similarly, the percentage of youth who exit to stable housing upon leaving the program, which is touted as another measure of success, is again vague and misleading. Stable housing may include living with a family member, and could in fact be the exact same housing situation a youth was in prior to entering the program. So a youth who was living with a relative enters program, receives a rental subsidy and lives in an apartment for 2 years. Upon exit, that youth returns to live with the same family member. This is certainly better and more stable than homelessness or an unaffordable rental situation, but should not be portrayed as a positive outcome since it represents no actual change.

More inclusive, comprehensive and transparent outcomes would paint a more complete and detailed picture programs, and would help the organization identify and address areas for improvement.

6

Former staff

Rating: 2

As a former staff member I have a different insight on the agency. I truly believe the CEO Sam Cobbs is great leader and wants to continue to grow this organization into something great. The problem is that some of his executive team do not have the experience or knowledge that staff can believe or rely in. There is so much disconnect between the upper management and staff that it affects the staff's ability to be able to effectively serve the youth and it keeps the moral down. The outcomes are not real but an illusion that the organization needs to create to call itself the model for transitional housing. I enjoyed working with the youth and being a part of their lives but I was not able to provide them the real services they needed. Sam needs to stop creating job titles for senior management and fire and hire competent human resource recruiter who can then fire and hire the people who can really manage the organization. Until that time the youth will just continue to be placed high cost apartments they can never afford to keep and sit two years with baby sitter like I was who created case notes all night trying to convince my manager I was being effective in a youth's life.

26

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a participating youth in program right now. First Place really offers good services to help youth with housing, helping us to get jobs, go to college, everything. I really like my youth advocate. She is really helpful and is always there to talk to me about housing issues or anything. She is just someone I can talk to no matter what. Just last week, my youth advocate and the education/employment coordinator took me on a field trip to the local fire department after I said I was interested in becoming a firefighter. It was really cool because I got to go out on a real emergency call and talk with people that actually do the work. First Place does a LOT for the youth and I am very lucky to be part of program.

23

Client Served

Rating: 5

FPFY is a wonderful program that has helped me budget bills and to save my money and has helped me get into my apartment. I'm so thankful to have my own bedroom a place where I can cook dinner and relax. Not only am I a participate with FPFY I'm also an employee. I'm happy with the people who have entered my life, when I first entered program I didn't have a mother now I have 12 who help and guide me with my personal life.

Previous Stories
21

Client Served

Rating: 4

I appreciate FPFY helping with budgeting bills and help with food vouchers and transportations. I truly like the support from having no mother to having 12 mothers who have helped in all areas of my life. Not only am I a participate but a employee of FPFY. I really like the family environment, it helps with discussing issues.

28 Trav.B

Client Served

Rating: 5

Well first place is a good program to get a great start in life. They have one on one help for jobs and resumes to help you get a job and complete your goals in life. Successful or not it the best way to save money and meet knew people. Note: learn to budget money, Build your credit with pg&e, learn to live in a new envionment,they set u up to live in good neighborhood. Youth Advocate to attend to your needs 24/7 hot line if needed.

27

Client Served

Rating: 5

I really love what First Place has done for my child and I. I like their many programs in one and how they love to help youth reach their goals. All of the staff are loving and caring. Special thanks to Deidre Goree. I really have a place for you in my heart. Lonisha

27

Volunteer

Rating: 4

First place for youth is a all around wonderful program i myself is a alumni of the program and now an employee. so for me first place is not just a housing program but a career opportunities as well. i give all the thumbs up!!!!!!

20

Client Served

Rating: 5

First Place staff support really helps youth. The fact that they help your organize a plan for your goals and help you accomplish them is the greatest.

22

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a current First Place participant emancipating from program in July and I must say that First Place has been such a SAVIOR for me! I, honestly, don't even want to think about what would have happened to me after I emancipated from the system without FP. I'd been in the system since I was 4 years old, had no experience whatsoever in supporting myself and was not even close to ready to live on my own. First Place taught me the most findamental things I needed to know to support myself like how to create a budget and manage my money. They showed me how to enroll in classes and financial aid and how to find work. They offered workshops for all of these things... Actually the job I currently have (working at Safeway) I found through the Safeway Orientation workshop held at the FP office and I've just been recommended for my first promotion! They also gave me a Youth Advisor with whom I've created a trusting bond with to help me with the struggles of being independant. My FPYA has helped me in so many ways with my personal life and learning how to live independantly such as balancing work and play and prioritizing correctly so I can get my stuff taken care of. I sincerely believe that every county in the state, if not the entire country, should have a program like First Place. They have helped me so much in these past two years and, in July, I know that I will be ready to move into my own as a self sufficient, independant adult. THANK YOU FIRST PLACE! -Albert

3

Client Served

Rating: 1

The programs design to help foster youth with housing and other services is great. Im a former First place youth and the actual design is not what happens. I was placed in an apartment and was told my youth avocate would meet with me once a week but I was without a avocate for 3 months. First place regional manager told me it was due to miscommunication. I dont think it should of happened and they are a business and not communicating internal is bad. Overall I had housing at a reduced rent for a year and that was excellent and Im working on my second year of college. With first places help I was able to go to school fulltime and work part time and now Im in my own apartment without first place help. Im happy I had the year with the reduced rent.