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Refuge at Roseville’s Taylor House

Local program offers transition for girls between foster care and independence
By: Susan Belknap for the Press Tribune
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After being emancipated from foster care when she turned 18 earlier this year, Alicia – speaking on conditions of last-name anonymity – didn’t have a place to live.

“I was out of options,” Alicia said. “I was going to be homeless and out on the streets. But then I found Taylor House. It was meant to be.”

Alicia’s story is a common one, as Taylor House founder Lisa Peat will attest. She said that’s why she decided to transform the six-bedroom house, located on Taylor Street in Roseville since 1918, into a refuge for young women who have aged out of foster care and have nowhere to go.

Peat retired from the banking industry in the Bay Area in 2004. She moved to Placer County and began working with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in Placer County. CASA is a national association that supports court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children in order to provide them with a safe environment in permanent homes.

“I’ve been working with teenage girls since 2007,” Peat said. “When I saw this little old house here on Taylor Street, I knew what I wanted to do.”

Peat said the house was in poor condition, but as soon as the escrow closed in 2011, she had 32 volunteers that showed up to help her get it in shape. After redoing the two bathrooms, changing out the kitchen appliances, adding several coats of fresh paint and lots of cleaning, Taylor House was ready to welcome its first residents. Since that time the Taylor House has served 27 young women including Ty Clark, who was the very first woman to make Taylor House her home.

“I moved into Taylor House in January 2012,” Clark said. “I’m now living on my own in an apartment and working full time at Apex Appraisal Services in Roseville.”

Clark said she has lived in several foster homes throughout her life and is so grateful for the new life living in the Taylor House afforded her.

“I learned how to survive in the world. Taylor House was a great learning experience and it has opened so many doors for me,” she said.

For girls at Taylor House, Peat said there are five areas of focus: education, employment, finances, health and personal documentation, which includes helping the girls locate their birth certificates, establish social security numbers and general identification.

“We show the girls what they need to do to continue their education, open a bank account, use an ATM, and how to budget, among other things,” Peat said. “Since many of the girls don’t have driver’s licenses we show them how to navigate local buses as well.”

To become a Taylor House resident, an extensive interview process is conducted. Girls must be drug- and alcohol-free and must either go to school or hold down a job or both. They each have daily and weekly chores around the house and follow strict house rules. Peat keeps constant tabs on everyone along with Sharon Nakada, the Taylor House program manager who is on-site five days a week.

Taylor House does not receive any funding from federal or state resources and is totally dependent on donations, grants and fundraisers. Fundraisers such as the annual Harvest Gala, held in October, raised more than $61,000, and a recent event sponsored by Soroptimist International of South Placer earned almost $4,000.

For more information, visit www.thetaylorhouse.org.