United Through HOPE: Helping Others Progress and Excel
Transitioning to live independently in adulthood often needs additional support as it is a complicated
process. United Through HOPE (UTH) begins with social and emotional support prior to age 18 through
various social groups and family counseling. However, as an individual inches closer to 16 and 18 years
of age when they can be hired for a job the type of support UTH offers changes to include not only social
and emotional support, but also financial awareness, fiscal accountability, impacts of executive
functioning deficits, and navigating the nuances of adult work and social relationships along with
balancing a work, life, school, play balance.
United Through HOPE offers an array of transitional services including collaboration with families and
TWC (Texas Workforce Commission) staff. Transitional services begin with life coaching and can
intensify to full pre-transitional programming. Pre-transitional programming is a monthly program of 3
meetings a week and includes the parental units to help support the individual toward their desire to
live independently. Pre-Transitional is geared toward the individual transitional needs of the individual
and can include but is not limited to budgeting; looking for jobs; the mental health aspects of working 40
hours a week; and social, emotional, and habit barriers impending their success.
During pre-transitional programming options to live independently are discussed including an apartment
on their own, roommate apartment living, and monthly options such as AirBnB. UTH also offers two
week stays at their tenant houses as well as a full year tenant house option. The two week stay at one
of the UTH tenant houses offers the young adult a way to have a “taste” of what living on their own may
be like. Their place away from home where they have their own room, cook their own food, budget on
their own, and no one cleans up after them. They may have a roommate. The two week stay at a UTH
tenant house allows the family unit and the young adult to see where deficits may still be occurring as
there is no “house mom” watching over them. During the two week stay they do continue to be
enrolled in the pre-transitional programming where issues and needs are discussed.
Often transitioning immediately to a first apartment directly after leaving the comforts of the family
home is either not financially or emotionally possible. As an interim step young adults who complete
the pre-transitional program may have the option to move into the UTH tenant houses where for one
year the young adult can live on their own, but continue to have emotional, social, and financial
awareness support from UTH staff as they learn to balance and navigate living on their own. Each
tenant house supports up to four young adults at a time, each contracting for a year long lease and
programming elements. All are expected to hold full time employment. Multiple meetings are held
each week with the tenant to support their individual needs. The tenant furnishes their room and their
basic needs for food and personal hygiene. No “house mom” is present, but they have access to UTH
staff outside their meetings should a social, job, school, personal issue occur.
Perhaps the young adult wants to move out on their own and wants no interim step or perhaps they
have already moved out and are struggling. UTH offers post-transitional support too! Learning never
stops and neither should support, but learning and support changes over time and UTH is here if an
adult needs it!
Article By Dr. Laurie Harrier