This year, since 80% of my students aging out, it was determined that there needed to be some definition in, the desires we've talked about for the past two years, versus the reality of what their monthly budget might look like post-program.
One student expressed in her ARD that she's interested in moving out on her own, into an apartment. She also would like a car to get her to and from work. We did a week of research on the apartments close to her job and called around to those apartments to gather information on availability, move-in costs, monthly costs and any misc. information we could think up (i.e. "Do you accept pets?") We also looked at vehicles and contacted our local State Farm office to get an insurance quote.
That Friday, my staff and I took the entire group and met with local realtor, Ashlee Clark of Keller-Williams, looking at the various types of rentals, just to we could gauge what the rental market in our area looks like.
Once the student (mentioned above) and I had gathered all of our information, we layed it out on the white board so we could really get a true look at the reality of her moving into an apartment, on her income. This is what it looked like:
This was a great way to really bring this student into a more realistic setting and provide real numbers instead of guesstimates. She was able to see how fast the small expenses add up and what type of apartment housing she could afford at her income level. This also helped us moved into a more open-minded position, to even start exploring group home options in our area, where she can live with little to no cost and also have support as needed.