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Housing/Transportation
Housing
 
Finding a place to live when you leave foster care is a big step. Moving out on your own can be exciting, but stressful. You will need to plan ahead to find housing that is safe, affordable, and convenient. You may have several options: live with your foster parents, friends, or relatives, live in a dorm (if you are in school), or get your own place. You should think about several things when deciding what living situation is best for you:
  • Where do you want to live?
  • Do you need to live near a bus stop or other public transportation?
  • Do you need to live near work or school?
  • Can you live in a dorm if you are in school?
  • How much money can you afford to spend on rent and other expenses, like utilities, furniture, and renter’s insurance?
  • Do you want to live with family, friends, or roommates to cut costs?

Foster or Group Home

You may be able to stay in your foster or group home after you are 18, under certain circumstances:

  • You are under 23 years old; AND
  • You lived in a licensed foster care or subsidized Independent Living Program on your 18th birthday and spent at least six months in foster care before your 18th birthday; OR
  • You were adopted or placed in a dependency guardianship after you turned 16 and had spent at least six months in foster care before the date you were adopted or placed in the dependency guardianship.
If you meet these requirements, you can ask to stay in your foster care or group home placement. It is up to your foster parent or group home provider to decide whether to let you stay after you turn 18. If that doesn’t work out, you can ask your caseworker to help you find another foster or group home. They will not always be able to find you one so you need to look into other housing options as well.
 
Relatives and Friends
Talk to friends and family. Is there someone with whom you feel comfortable living? It might be a cheaper option because you could split your rent and other housing expenses with your relative or friend. It may also be nice to live with a familiar person with whom you feel safe and comfortable.
Before you move in, you should work out several things with your family member or friend:
  • How much will you be expected to pay and what will it cover?
  • What you are expected to contribute to the house, in terms of food, furniture, etc.?
  • What are the rules of the house? You need to know what they are so you can decide whether you want to live there and follow the rules.
  • How long can you stay?
  • Do you think you will make good roommates? Do you get along?
If you are going to have a roommate, you need to know if the person is responsible. Will your roommate pay her share of the rent on time? Usually, if your roommate doesn’t pay her half, you will have to pay it or you will both be evicted. Will your roommate follow the rules? If your roommate breaks the rules of your apartment complex, you both could be evicted. You should also know what type of people your roommate will invite into the house. Will you and your belongings be safe? It helps to have an agreement in writing.
 
School Housing
If you are attending a college or university, you should be able to live in a dorm on or near campus. Often, a dorm costs less than renting an apartment in the area. If you receive financial aid or a scholarship, some of this money might cover your on-campus housing costs. Job Corps also offers free housing to its students. Students get paid a monthly allowance and get a free place to stay while they learn a trade.
 
Your Own Place
You plan to rent your own apartment, condominium, or house.
 
What questions should you ask your potential landlords?
  • How much is rent?
  • Do you have to pay a security deposit before moving in? If so, how much is it and when do you have to pay? How much of it do you get back and under what circumstances? Most landlords will give your deposit back if you leave the place in good condition.
  • How long can you have a lease? Year-to-year? Month-to-month?
  • Does the rent include utilities like electricity, phone, or water usage?
  • Are there other fees, like a processing fee for your apartment application or lease fees?
 
How do you find an affordable place to live?
  • Look at the classified section of the local newspaper, which usually has a section on places to rent.
  • Look at online Web sites, like your local newspaper, which may include a section on rentals.
  • Check the housing office of local community colleges and universities.
  • Ask your caseworker about affordable housing in your area.
  • Ask friends and clergy for recommendations.
 
Consider applying for subsidized housing under the Section 8 Voucher program. This federal government program helps people with little money find and keep housing. If you qualify for the program, the government will give you a voucher that you give to your landlord. The voucher pays part of your rent and you pay the rest. You may be eligible if you are at least 18 years old and make less than a certain amount of money.
 
Don’t plan on getting a Section 8 Voucher right away. There is usually a long waitlist to get housing under this program. In many parts of Florida it can take several years to get a voucher. To put your name on the waitlist, contact your local housing authority.
 
Transportation
                                                                                                       
Public Transportation
 
To get around Miami-Dade by Public Transit: we suggest you click on to the following web sites. Start with the main page, Miami-Dade Transit Info and check out the site. For quick links, take a spin with this page.
Buy an Easy Card: check out EasyCard. This page will give you information on where to buy passes, how much they cost, and whether you can get a discount. Don't forget that the METROMOVER downtown is FREE, so once you are downtown, it's a quick "ride with a view" that is convenient to most downtown locations, Brickell and Omni.
The Metrorail Site : Metrorail's website, links you to several useful pages of information including a map of the Metrorail stations at Metrorail Stations Map, a map of the METROMOVER SITE at Metromover Site Map, complete METRORAIL SCHEDULES at Metrorail Schedules and other information.
Metrobus: The Metrobus Site, has BUS ROUTES AND SCHEDULES and you can find information on transferring to the Metrorail.
Bike Around
One way to save money, protect the environment, get in great shape, and get around the city is to get a bike. Look at all those benefits! Miami-Dade has many bike paths. There is also a bike and ride program which you can review at Bikes