Fort Wayne & NE Indiana News

The latest positive news written by residents and organizations in our community.

First Year Counts As Success At The Courtyard

The Courtyard of Fort Wayne, located in the Fairfield corridor, is celebrating the first year as a success. In the past year, The Courtyard, a 36-unit apartment community, has earned national recognition and won numerous awards for its unique mission – eligibility preference is given to those between 18-25 that are aging out of foster care, or are at risk of becoming homeless. This collaborative complex is the first such housing project in the state of Indiana.

“We are truly celebrating a marvelous first year of owning the Courtyard. Through this unique apartment complex we have been able to provide innovative services to young adults out on their own for the first time who have faced many challenges just getting to adulthood. The collaborative relationship between SCAN, Biggs and SAFY has brought an array of services and assistance to these tenants, helping them learn life skills,” said Rachel Tobin-Smith, Executive Director of SCAN. “SCAN is proud of the Courtyard and the work it is doing trailblazing a new service continuum for this age group struggling to become our next citizens. As with any new program, how it looked on paper a year ago and how it looks now is different because we have been a nimble collaborative of organizations that has modified what we are doing to make sure we best meet the needs of those we serve,” said Tobin-Smith.

"It is a real honor to be given the opportunity to help deliver this housing concept to the Fort Wayne community. I am reminded how important this work is when I see hope and gratitude it the eyes of our tenants. We what to help them realize that they too are an important part of the fabric of our community" said Kevan Biggs, President and owner.

This neighborhood is one solution to help curb the homelessness Fort Wayne young adults face.

“The topic of homelessness among youth has been under discussion in this community for a long time. To see The Courtyard actually come into existence is truly changing the course of history for its tenants,” said Rebecca Karcher, City of Fort Wayne. Karcher concluded, “Lives are being made stronger as these young people get access to the resources SCAN and SAFY and Fort Wayne Housing Authority and their partners can connect for them.”

One such collaborative partner shared: “SAFY is proud to mark the one-year anniversary of the opening of The Courtyard of Fort Wayne,” said Jane Wintz, Operations Director for SAFY. “We are proud to be a partner at this innovative facility, providing supportive services to residents, especially -2-

those leaving the foster care system and beginning their lives as independent adults and members of our community.”

The Courtyard offers supportive services to the residents, including assisting clients to establish a lifestyle of work, education, recreation and community living. In the past year Courtyard residents have celebrated the following successes.

• In celebration of Arbor Day, tenants planted an orchard for the neighborhood on the corner of Home and South Wayne.

• A Tenant Council was established and together the council, with the assistance of the Courtyard Tenant Advisor, they have planned group activities, including a video game tournament, and they organized community clean-ups to help pick up trash around The Courtyard and in the surrounding neighborhood.

• Staff at The Courtyard has been expanded to include an Overnight Wellness Liaison, through funding provided by a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Fort Wayne.

• Case management services have been enhanced; these services have helped tenants receive the help they need to grow their self-sufficiency.

• A short-term Advisory Task Force has been assembled to trouble shoot and help find solutions to unexpected challenges of The Courtyard.

• Through philanthropic support and community partnerships programs including art classes, a mom’s group, popcorn Mondays, “4th meal” cooking classes, financial literacy and professional development are being offered at The Courtyard.

• Partnerships with Wellspring and Covenant United Methodist have been formed, with Wellspring providing tenants with access to their food pantry and clothing closet, and Covenant providing “welcome” baskets for every tenant who moves in to the community and donating product for The Courtyard’s “emergency needs” pantry.

The Courtyard has taken root in the ever-growing popular “07”. Tenants are members of the community, invested in their homes and are thriving. Year one brought a unique set of challenges, but through the commitment of the collaborative partners and friends in the community is a success.