A Home for Vulnerable Youth: Repurposing an abandoned motel into a place of hope.
Carol Stewart Village is a program run by Star House that was developed in partnership with Finance Fund. The program brought new life to abandoned motels on the west side Columbus. Triad was fortunate enough to be the architect that helped bring this project to life. Below is a description of the program from Star House:
Carol Stewart Village (CSV) is a neighborhood for young adults, ages 18-24, with on-site programs and services. CSV offers 62 studio apartments with on-site access to transitional jobs, education, health care, mental health and addiction services and social connections through mentorships, peer support and community engagement options.
Thanks to project-based vouchers provided by CMHA, residents have the opportunity to live at CSV for up to seven years while they acquire the credentials and experience necessary to thrive in long- term housing stability. CSV is part of a National Institute of Health study, the HOME Project, facilitated by Ohio State, which assesses for the first time the correlation between youth having a home and the prevention of opioid addiction.
CSV is a Collaboration of joint-owners Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Finance Fund and Star House.
Below is an interview with a resident of Carol Stewart Village that illustrates the impact that this special program is having on the life of very vulnerable young people in Columbus.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from? Where you live now. Anything about your life you want to share. Etc.
My name is KiKi Azore. I am 22 years old, and I am from Newark, New Jersey and was raised in Bronx, New York. I now live in Columbus, Ohio.
- How did you hear about Star House and Carol Stewart Village?
I was homeless and jumping from state to state. I came to Ohio in 2020 to stay with a friend but was quickly told I could not stay with her and her family. The sister of my friend looked up Star House which began my journey to finding stability. Soon after accessing Star House services, I received housing at the Carol Stewart Village and have been living here ever since.
- What was your experience during your time at Carol Stewart Village like?
I feel like I have special experience here at Carol Stewart Village seeing that I am the first group of youth housed here. I have seen many people come and go in the two year I have been here and have witnessed this community grow.
- How has the Carol Stewart Village impacted your life?
Carol Stewart Village has impacted my life greatly. If I did not have Carol Stewart Village and the support of Star House, I do not know where I would be today. CSV has provided me with a safe place to live and access to opportunities that I may not have had otherwise. I am part of our Youth Advisory Council that provides me with the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and get involved with making a lasting impact in our community.
- What is your favorite part of Carol Stewart Village?
I love having all of the wonderful resources available right in my neighborhood. We have everything we need to be successful such as a food pantry, case management, health support and staff that are always rooting for us. We are also made aware of fun events in Columbus that I may not have been aware of before. Overall, I love the community and safety I feel in my own space.
- What else would you like to share about Star House and Carol Stewart Village?
Star House and Carol Stewart Village is a great place for homeless youth to get all the things they need to move into the next stage of their lives. We are provided with a safe place to live, access to food, financial empowerment classes and tools for us to be successful in life. The Star House staff are so loving and supportive and make us feel like we have a family. Being part of the LBGTQ+ community it is nice to find a space where we can be safe to be who we are and loved because of it. Not only does Star House talk the talk but they walk the walk, I got to walk with our Star House staff in this year’s Pride Parade which meant a lot to me. I think there needs to be more Star Houses and Carol Stewart Village everywhere to support youth.