By Taylor Thompson
HENDERSON COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — A local nonprofit that has continued to work to provide housing for children in the foster care system just completed their first housing project in Henderson County.
‘I want to make a difference’ First foster care housing project brought to Henderson Co.
H3 Collective is a nonprofit that works to foster hope for kids in the foster care system.
The organization does that by partnering with counties, such as Henderson County, to create housing for foster kids with the goal of keeping them in their county and not separating them from their siblings.
More details released after toddler struck, killed by vehicle at South Carolina state park Alex Williams, the founder of H3 Collective, said that every county, including Henderson does not have enough foster homes.
He said that Henderson County currently has around 180 kids in the foster care system and that their goal was to create a home that would meet the specific needs of those children.
Williams said that they found the property last August, which had two homes on it, and brought the idea to the county commission.
“There’s a way that we can help to serve kids in this county,” he said. “There’s a way that we can do it which reduces the cost of foster care in this county and there’s a way that we can do it that’s going to serve those children better.”
He credited the county commissioners and Dogwood Health Trust, along with so many community members for the support to make these homes a reality.
One of the homes on the property will house foster parents and five foster children under the age of 18.
The other home on the property will serve as transitional housing for kids over the age of 18 who have aged out of the system.
The purpose of creating this type of housing, which Williams hopes is just the beginning of more houses like this, is so the kids don’t have to leave everything they know.
“We can keep them in this county and we can keep them closer to their family, their friendship circles, their schools, their sports coach,” he explained.
The goal is to minimize the trauma added to these children who never asked to be in foster care.
While Williams said he knows that not everyone can or should be a foster parent, he said that everyone is capable of doing something.
“What we want to do is educate the community as a whole to say there’s something that you can do,” he said.
He explained how there’s many different options the community could do such as providing a set of hands to help build these types of homes.
Williams said many people did just that, as they had 65 volunteers help them over the course of a year to build the home.
He said it’s just all about utilizing whatever resources you have to help extend and expand the work.
“Making a meal for a foster parent once a week and taking it over and just saying, you’re not on your own in this, thank you for what you’re doing,” he expressed.
Williams expressed how the home itself is just four walls and a roof but what it does is provide hope and opportunity to a child who has been neglected, abused or maltreated through no fault of their own.
“You can be safe, you can be with your brothers and your sisters, you can stay in your school, we will keep as much as we can be consistent for you through the turmoil you’re going through,” Williams said.
He said that they had found their foster parents, Mike and Julie Michna.
The Michnas began fostering children about a year and a half ago and knew it was their calling.
Julie said that she saw they were restoring houses on this property and that was laid on her heart to check into it.
“They were waiting for a house of parents to say yes and here we are,” she said.
Both Julie and Mike said that they’re ready for the house to be filled with kids.
Now that the home is complete, Williams said that the kids will be moving in, in just a matter of weeks.
A project that he said is possible because of the support from the community.
“It’s dollars and it’s people being willing to say I want to make a difference,” he said.
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