FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A new apartment complex designed to largely help young adults who are aging out of foster care is now home to dozens of residents.
The Courtyard is located at the intersection of Home and Fairfield Avenues, site of the former Duemling Clinic on the old Lutheran Hospital campus. The property had been vacant for some time.
“This is another example of the great things taking place in our community,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “Thanks to the compassion and dedication of area neighborhoods, non-profits, foundations, and our financial and development community, a once-blighted property is now home to an innovative development for some of our most vulnerable young adults.”
The Courtyard is a $7.2 million, 47,000 square foot apartment complex that will accommodate 18- to 25-year-olds entering adulthood without significant support, who are aging out of foster care, or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Robert Duran, 21, was in the foster care system. His foster mother died from MS. After her death, he would move from foster home to foster home until he moved into an independent-living program. It would be through that program he learned about The Courtyard.
“It’s a home. That’s exactly what it is, it’s a home,” Duran said.
He would also serve on a committee that would help structure the building before it was built. Duran provided details as to what young adults aging out of the foster care system would want in a place such as The Courtyard. He said tenants wanted a place that felt like a home, a sense of community, a secure place to live and a supportive group of people to help them reach their goals.
“Everybody that I talked to or worked with, they’re very supportive and they’re willing to help you,” he said.
Another tenant is Jasmyn Norfleet, 18. She was living in a foster home that wasn’t ideal for her, which lead to someone telling her about The Courtyard. She moved in last week and said she’s been the “mother of the community” and enjoys helping everyone that’s now a part of her new community.
“The Courtyard is pretty cool. I love all the people in it, and it’s just a unique experience,” said Norfleet.
The complex has 24 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom apartment homes. It also has a commercial teaching kitchen, exercise room, arts and crafts room, and an on-site urban garden. Counseling and other supportive services are available to residents.
The project was funded through a combination of sources that included city funds, private donations and tax credits.