This Former Foster Kid Deserved a Supportive Space to Come Home To. We Gave It To Her

This Former Foster Kid Deserved a Supportive Space to Come Home To. We Gave It To Her

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Dabney Frake
Dec 19, 2017
(Image credit: Melanie Rieders )

We are pretty big on homes here at Apartment Therapy, and nothing makes us more excited than helping people create happy and beautiful spaces that support them and their goals. Around the holidays, it feels especially poignant so, when we recently heard of one young woman whose apartment needed a little care and kindness, we jumped at the chance to help.

This holiday season, we worked with City Living NY, a non-profit which helps create homes for young people aging out of the foster care system. One in five youth will be homeless within 3 years after turning 21 and leaving care, and City Living — among other things — provides stability by giving their clients urgently needed essential household goods — like pots and bedspreads — in order to make their first apartment a home.

Click here to purchase household basics for other young people aging out of the foster care system, through City Living's Amazon Wishlist!

(Image credit: Kelsey Ann Rose)

Jahlika, one of City Living's clients, recently moved into her first apartment in Long Island City. She works and studies hard (she has both a job and is in school full-time) and we wanted to help give her a supportive home that feels good to come back to at the end of the day.

(Image credit: Kelsey Ann Rose)

Here's what her small studio apartment looked like before. It was somewhat dark. (In fact, Jahlika says that, when she first moved in, she used to sleep with the lights on.) It was filled with furniture cobbled together mostly from Craigslist, including a futon (which she covered with a blanket to hide what she calls a CSI crime scene) and a dresser damaged by a flood earlier this year. The floors were a hard linoleum.

(Image credit: Kelsey Ann Rose)

We can't proceed before first mentioning the wall and ceiling color, which was like a battleship grey mixed with pea green. We soon learned that the paint is famous among New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments, all of which are inexplicably painted this color. And if there was one color you don't want your ceilings and walls to be, it's a battleship grey pea green hybrid. Jahlika did paint some of it early on, but it needed another dose of paint and change.

(Image credit: Kelsey Ann Rose)

Jahlika invited us into her apartment for a couple of whirlwind days, to help her clean up, paint, and create a new home. The priorities? Make it a brighter place (using her favorite color: burnt orange). Give her a solid place to study and do homework. And make it reflect the strong, lively, warm, smart woman that she is.

Helping us was a phenomenal team of Apartment Therapy readers, who responded to our call for volunteers, and took time out of their busy lives to lend a hand. We couldn't have done it without them, and are so grateful for all the work they put into painting, hauling boxes, and assembling furniture for hours during their weekend. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Here's what we all did together:

After helping Jahlika get rid of some stuff, and clean, we painted the entire apartment (a combination of Behr's White Blush and Deep Fire), then brought in new curtains, rugs, dresser, desk, memory foam mattress, bedding, artwork, and plants. Many thanks to Wayfair and Modani Furniture, who graciously offered to outfit Jahlika with new furniture and decor. We picked out everything, and they got it to us in time, and we are very grateful.

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