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Former and current teenagers in foster system need help finding apartments

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ANDERSON TOWNSHIP — A group of Hamilton County teenagers are facing the genuine possibility of becoming homeless if they cannot find new apartment units by November.

Of these 22 teenagers, many of them have aged out or will soon age out of the foster care program.

Ahmad Colvin — who went through the foster care system himself — welcomed WCPO into his current apartment.

“I was in foster care, but I was still able to see my mom and stuff,” Colvin said.

As he inched closer to 18 last year, he faced the reality of living on his own.

“I was worried about it a lot,” Colvin said. “At first, I didn’t know a thing or two about cooking. Like, I didn’t know a lot.”

Then, he connected with New Path Child & Family Solutions in Anderson Township, which he said was a like a weight lifted off his shoulders.

“Yeah, it was really a relief because I thought I was going to be aged out and just be on the streets somewhere,” Colvin said.

New Path is an organization that pays for apartments for those aging out of the foster care system. The organization provides utilities, furniture, life coaches and mentors that teach them how to cook, clean, get a job, balance their budgets and more.

John Parran, chief operating officer of New Path, said the organization is able to provide that for 22 teenagers — mostly 16 to 21 years old — and two supervisors right now. However, the complex they lease the units from is closing for renovations in November — meaning they must move.

“This is a very tricky real estate market. Especially for rentals,” Parran said. “It’s tough to find one place. Finding 24 places is a huge challenge.”

New Path is searching for 24 apartment units where the rent is $750 per month or cheaper. The units must be in Hamilton County, but can be separate or, ideally, in one complex. The organization is also open to buying a building or units.

“We’d like it to be on a bus line. We’d like it to be around some sort of shopping district so they can go get groceries, whatever they need,” Parran said. “Hopefully, close to employment opportunities: retail, fast food, supply chain places.”

New Path has been able to not only house Colvin, but also help him get a job as a YMCA camp counselor.

“I’m not one to give up very easily,” Colvin said. “If we all just put our heads together and work together on it, we’ll find somewhere. It’s not like it’s impossible, but it’s going to be hard.”

If you have ideas or suggestions in mind for the organization, e-mail New Path at info@newpath.org.

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