SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WJMN) – What started out as a simple rendering has turned into a warm, inviting home.
After hearing stories and studying statistics of many local youths couchsurfing in the area, a non-profit organization, Chippewa County Family Project (CCFP), formed in 2016 to do something about this issue.
The president of CCFP, Tracey Holt, said some teens from the area will often be sent downstate because of the lack of people taking in teens in the foster system.
“Other kids are put in institutions with drug users, alcoholics, and high mental issues because there’s nowhere to place them. So a lot of them choose to get out of the system and couchsurf because they don’t want to leave. They don’t want to be placed in foster care and tossed around from home to home.”
CCFP began breaking ground on a new foster home in 2019.
A year later, the ending result is the new Robert Arfstrom and Sharyn Faunt Teen Foster Home.
Arfstrom and Faunt were large donors to the project.
“It is amazing. Just to see the community rally together to make it happen, the board did an amazing job and working really hard the last couple of years just to get it all together,” said Holt.
The building is separated into two homes; one side will house six males and the other side will house six females. The middle section holds the director’s office, and soon will also become an emergency shelter.
“Our goal is ultimately just to give them that home-like atmosphere, and a sense that their life does matter and that they have a sense of purpose. We want them to be successful in life and we want to help them be successful and give them the opportunity that the rest of the kids have. Teaching them life skills so they can be successful when they get out on their own. But also making sure that they always feel they have a home to come to and family that cares about them,” said Holt.
The home will be trauma-informed, “encouraging residents to address the emotional issues related to their removal and to promote healing and growth.”
CCFP had hoped to open the home up in June, but with COVID-19 the new opening will be sometime in September.