WEST VALLEY CITY — Youth Services is taking over a transitional housing program for youths aging out of foster care in Salt Lake County.

The Milestone Project, with homes in West Valley City and Sandy, was previously managed by the nonprofit Utah Youth Mentor Project. Because of limited funding and resources, Utah Youth Mentor Project was faced with either closing down the transitional homes or signing them over to another agency.

Youth Services recently took over the contracts and the first youths will be moving into the homes at the end of the week. The properties are being leased from the Salt Lake County Housing Authority and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

The Utah Youth Mentor Project will partner with Youth Services by providing one-on-one mentors for the Milestone participants, as well as housing advocacy. This includes assisting the youths in finding appropriate housing options and teaching life skills and self-sufficiency workshops.

Milestone Project participants will begin the program with minimal rent payments ($100 to $200) that increase by $50 every three months. The rent increase is meant to help the youths adjust to market value rent payments and to help them transition to independent housing in a short amount of time. Rental assistance is available through the Salt Lake County Division of Community Resources and Development.

Youths can earn financial incentives by completing their education, finding employment or volunteering in the community. Those incentives are put into a savings account for each youth, which can be used for a housing deposit once the youth is ready to transition out on their own.