Our search for transitional housing for male youth is a dream that started in 2018 after we lost some of our boys who had left prison. Here’s why providing a halfway house for male teens in Kenya is important.
Most male teens who are in conflict with the law often have no home to go back to when they exit juvenile prison. Those who face conflict or abuse at home rarely have the right place to seek refuge. Help us to provide a halfway house by donating $10 or more.
What is a halfway house?
A halfway house is a supportive housing for those who need transitional housing before they can fully reintegrate into the community. In our case, the male youth who will stay at our halfway house will do so for a short period, say 3 to 6 months. During their stay, they will be obligated to do the following:-
- know their stay is temporary
- work and earn an income
- learn further skills, go through our mental wellness program
- not use drugs or alcohol
- continue their process of healing and reconciliation
- cater for their food and personal needs without relying on well-wishers
Who will stay at our halfway house?
While our original aim to have a halfway house was to provide shelter for male youth exiting juvenile prison, our plan has changed. Our facility will provide a safe place for any male youth who need urgent shelter. This may be as a result of the following reasons:-
- male youth who need a temporary place to stay after losing a job
- male teens who have been chased away from home due to quarrels and misunderstandings
- boys who have been sexually or physically abused
- male youth who are arriving from rehab and need a safe place
- male youth who have exited prison and have no place to go
Why we need a halfway house
Transitioning male teens who have gone through a prison sentence directly back to their community is counterproductive. Not only does it increase stigma, rejection and chances of re-offending, it is also difficult for them to get a job, go back to school or start a business in the community.
We have also discovered that male teens who have not had close contact with their families tend lose hope or don’t care when their exit nears. Those who have no place to go to, become rowdy, rough and lack discipline in order to gain more time behind bars. Those who already belong to gangs find it easier to enroll such male youth into gangs.
That is why providing a halfway house for male teens in Kenya is crucial. Providing a safe house will add value and the much needed after-care support. This will enable us to provide a safe place and passage for male teens graduating from our prison program and going back home.
Providing a Halfway House for Male Teens in Kenya
Our plan to start providing a halfway house for male teens in Kenya begun in 2017. That year, we had 3 exceptional young men who graduated from our REAM Program. Only one of these three young men had a loving home environment where their return was eagerly awaited. During his stay in prison and throughout our program, his family kept in touch with us.
The other two boys never had the same experiences. Their families never got involved, failed to turn up for court cases and did not get in touch with us. While on home visits to their respective homes, we were told that the boys were not welcomed back home. One of the boys immediately joined a local gang in his neighbourhood.
The second one did not receive the right after-care support that he needed for his drug and alcohol issues. As a result, we lost both of them because we did not have a halfway house where we would have provided a safe house and the right care and support. Since we did not have funding to rent a halfway house, we decided to raise funding through cycling from Nairobi to different counties in Kenya.
Our progress so far
So far, our team of volunteers have cycled – in 2018 and 2019 – from Nairobi to Migori Town. In 2018, we were able to raise money that we used for additional capital for our business. In 2019, we dealt with a long illness that ended with the death of a family member and almost called off the event. Last year (in 2020), we cycled from Nairobi to Malindi Town and raised additional funding that we would like to build on during this year’s Half Way Cycle Event.
Watch last year’s event here.
Call to Action
At Lifesong Kenya, we are working tirelessly to find solutions that will help vulnerable male youth to rise and get back on their feet. This includes skills training, mental wellness support, restorative justice and a space to learn and thrive.
Providing a halfway house for male teens in Kenya is part of our vision. Together with you, we will provide the lifeline that male youth in Kenya need. There’s a way you can help.
Help bring an intervention that will create long lasting impact. Make a donation now to help us deliver vital programs directly to male teens who need it most.