To help end youth homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $43 million to 11 local communities, including five rural areas, through its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). This program supports a wide range of housing interventions including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes.
“Young people who are victims of abuse, family conflict, or aging out of foster care are especially vulnerable to homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “We’re working with our local partners to support innovative new approaches to help young people find stable housing, break the cycle of homelessness and lead them on a path to self-sufficiency.”
To ensure the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program meets the needs of young people, HUD relied upon the recommendations of young people who experienced homelessness themselves. Many of the same youth participated in reviewing the applications of communities seeking YHDP funds. Their input helped ensure that the communities selected for funding understand the needs and preferences of the young people they will serve. HUD also worked closely with its federal partners at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Education (DOE), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to help develop the program and review applications.
The 11 communities selected will collaborate with a broad array of partners including a youth action board and the local or state public child welfare agency. These communities now have four months to develop and submit to HUD a coordinated community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness. They will also participate in a program evaluation to inform the federal effort to prevent and end youth homelessness going forward and will serve as leaders in the nation on the work to end homelessness among young people.
YHDP recipients will use funding for rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, and transitional housing, and to fund innovative programs, such as host homes. Recipients can begin requesting funding for specific projects as soon as they are ready. YHDP will also support youth-focused performance measurement and coordinated entry systems. Over the next several months, selected communities will work with their youth advisory boards, child welfare agencies, and other community partners to create a comprehensive community plan to end youth homelessness.
HUD is awarding grants to the following communities where local applicants expressed their own vision for ending youth homelessness:
San Diego, California: $7.94 million
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless and their members have demonstrated success addressing homelessness through specific initiatives targeting specific homeless subpopulations. For example, San Diego and San Diego County are implementing a Youth Coordinated Entry System (CES) to match housing and services to the needs of young people, specifically those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Louisville, Kentucky: $3.45 million
This Continuum of Care (CoC) has a strong history of coordinating stakeholders to create systemic change in the homeless service system resulting in cutting the chronically homeless population in half. It has worked to effectively end veteran homelessness and has been working to make systemic change in addressing homelessness among youth since 2016 through the Homeless Youth Committee of the Louisville CoC.
Boston, Massachusetts: $4.92 million
Boston seeks to transition from a city where multiple programs individually serve Youth and Young Adults (YYA) at-risk of and experiencing homelessness, to a city with a coordinated, resourced, and data-informed system with common vision and goals. HUD is supporting this transition.
NW Minnesota (Rural): $1.41 million
Given the significant system changes involved and the specific challenges associated with the rural nature of its region and desire to assure the participation and respect the sovereignty of three Tribes, this Continuum of Care employs a single prioritization list and participation of nearly all homeless-dedicated beds.
Nebraska (Rural): $3.28 million
The mission of the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) is to bring young people together with service providers, funders and decision-makers to create supportive communities committed to improving outcomes for youth ages 14-24 with foster care, juvenile justice or homelessness experiences. It is designed to build strong collaborations and infrastructure necessary for community ownership of youth well-being and the realization of improved youth outcomes.
Northern New Mexico (Rural): $3.37 million
Many local communities and pueblos in New Mexico have demonstrated a philosophical, political, and financial commitment to confronting social inequities, particularly as they affect underserved populations and children. Youth Services and Family Services, along with its partners, are proposing to extend this commitment through tested methodologies and novel approaches to a web of communities in a 14-county region. This rural outreach aims to join a national effort of like-minded individuals, groups, and municipalities to end youth homelessness.
Columbus, Ohio: $6.07 million
The Youth Action Board (YAB) and Youth Committee vision is for all youth to have a safe place to call home. Successful achievement of this vision in this community means all youth will have immediate and easy access to the support they need to prevent homelessness or, if needed, will have immediate and easy access to crisis housing and services to ensure that homeless episodes are rare, brief, and one-time.
Nashville, Tennessee: $3.54 million
The creation of the Key Action Plan represents a clear shift in Nashville and Davidson County, where the problem of youth homelessness is more broadly recognized and embraced beyond a small number of Youth and Young Adult (YYA) providers. With the direct support of more than 20 diverse stakeholders – including a wide range of community-based organizations, systems, and Young Adult (YA) – Nashville’s Continuum of Care has increasingly tested new strategies and methodologies as it works to expand housing options for at-risk young people and to build momentum toward ending youth homelessness.
Vermont (Rural): $2 million
The Youth Homelessness Prevention Plan Committee (YHPPC) has engaged youth and youth providers in planning; conducted a youth baseline needs assessment; and incorporated youth perspectives into the Continuum of Care’s Coordinated Entry policies and procedures.
Washington (Rural): $4.63 million
Washington State has one of the strongest commitments to addressing youth homelessness in the nation. Ongoing strategic efforts include: preventing youth from exiting public systems of care (such as child welfare and juvenile justice) into homelessness; developing a crisis response system for families and youth in conflict; and closing educational equity gaps for homeless students.
Snohomish, Washington: $2.39 million
The Snohomish County Human Services Department (HSD) will build on successful innovative practices that have transformed the Everett/Snohomish County Continuum of Care homeless response system, to further transform the homeless youth response under the Youth Homeless Demonstration Program.