Ending Homelessness Today — Youth
Alliance President Keynote Remarks, 2013 National Family and Youth Conference
May 10, 2013
Back in February, about 900 advocates, practitioners, and officials convened in Seattle for two days of sharing innovative practices and new research on family and youth homelessness at the Alliance’s 2013 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness. These are the keynote remarks delivered by the Alliance's President and CEO Nan Roman at that conference.
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How Medicaid Can Help Homeless and At-Risk Individuals
April 29, 2013
At least three vulnerable groups could benefit from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in ways that could reduce homelessness and risks of homelessness: chronically homeless individuals; young people aging out of foster care; and ex-offenders, also known as homecomers.
Medicaid expansion, which is optional for states, could potentially cover all uninsured men with incomes under $15,000 – meaning most chronically homeless people and homecomers would have better access to medical and behavioral health care. Under the ACA states also must extend coverage to former foster youth until age 26, which will give these young people additional time to receive ongoing treatments and services. And under the ACA signing up for Medicaid will be easier across the country, as states must remove barriers to enrollment.
The ACA will not end homelessness! Housing is the primary intervention to solve homelessness. However, vulnerable people also need supports and services to be stable in housing. Medicaid can help individuals, and covering them will help strained communities by adding resources for services that accompany housing assistance. The proof will be in implementation, starting next year.
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A Long Cold Night
February 01, 2013
Last night, some Alliance staff and I joined thousands of volunteers nationwide who participated this month in the 2013 Point-in-Time Count. (This year’s count was unique because Continuums of Care (CoCs) are required to report the numbers of youth aged 18 to 24 they encountered.) The purpose of the count is to reach an accurate estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness, so that HUD can target funding for services where the need is greatest.
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MSNBC Covers Youth Homelessness
January 29, 2013
As volunteers across the country take part in their communies' Point-In-Time Counts, braving lousy weather and chilly temperatures, walking streets well after midnight in an effort to find and count unsheltered persons experiencing homelessness, the media has taken notice.
This week and last week articles about local counts have been popping up in newspapers all over the country, and recently, the Alliance President and CEO Nan Roman spoke with Nevada Public Radio about homelessness and the PIT Count in Las Vegas. Also, one of the Alliance's guest bloggers, Jimmy Ramirez, a formerly homeless youth appeared on MSNBC, when the Melissa Harris-Perry show did a segment on youth homelessness.
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Youth Homelessness: This Year We Learn More
January 04, 2013
It's January and that means that communities across the country are preparing for their HUD mandated Point-In-Time Counts, which they will be performing at the end of this month. This year the homeless assistance field will take an important step toward ending youth homelessness by 2020 - one of the four major goals of Opening Doors – by collecting more accurate data on the population of youth experiencing homelessness.
Recently, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) completed a series of webinars focused on showing a number of communities how to collect more detailed and accurate data on homeless youth during their counts. Though targeted at specific communities – Boston, Houston, and Los Angeles – the webinars provide information that should be useful for training volunteers, picking locations to survey, and finalizing survey questions in a wide range of communities.
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LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Simulation
December 26, 2012
Each year the Victory Institute gathers LGBT elected and appointed officials from across the nation for its LGBT International Leadership Conference, where they discuss issues facing the LGBT community. This year I was invited to talk to these decision makers about LGBT homelessness. It was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of unaccompanied young people and, with such an esteemed group of individuals on hand, the occasion called for something more impactful than a typical PowerPoint presentation.
It was time to roll out the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Simulation that Ed SanFilippo (the Alliance’s Policy Fellow) and I had been developing.
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The First Step Toward Ending Youth Homelessness
December 07, 2012
Since the implementation of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, we have made good progress in ending homelessness for veterans and the chronically homeless, and along the way have learned a lot about what works. As we move forward, we want to be sure that preventing and ending homelessness among unaccompanied youth is a priority at both the national and local levels. Getting better data on this population is the first step in making progress towards that goal.
In the past, HUD’s homeless assistance grants programs defined youth as persons less than 18 years old, and adults as persons 18 years of age and above. We realized, however, that this definition didn't allow us to really understand how many young people are homeless and what their specific needs are.
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Going from Homeless to Advocate
November 16, 2012
In recognition of National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, we at the Alliance are highlighting the issue of youth homelessness in our blog. For this blog entry, Jimmy Ramirez, a formerly homeless youth who went on to become an advocate for homeless youth, shares his story.
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Counting an Invisible Population
November 09, 2012
The Alliance estimates that each year 1.7 million children have a runaway or homeless episode, with 400,000 remaining homeless longer than a week. This coming January, communities across the country are making a concerted effort to include youth in the biennial Point-In-Time Counts. In recognition of National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, we at the Alliance are highlighting the issue of youth homelessness in our blog.
For this blog entry, I asked the Alliance’s Director for Families and Youth, Sharon McDonald, and our Policy and Program Analyst on youth and child welfare, André C. Wade, some basic questions about youth homelessness and what we hope to accomplish with this January’s Point-In-Time Count.
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Webinar: “Youth Targeted Point-In-Time Counts: What You Need to Know!”
October 10, 2012
Last week the Alliance and co-sponsors held a webinar on counting youth experiencing homelessness during the HUD mandated point-in-time counts that will be held in January 2013.
The webinar explored what three communities — San Jose, D.C., and southern Nevada — have done to effectively count youth experiencing homelessness. We had a fantastic turnout and received great feedback.
The Alliance would like to thank our partners who contributed to the webinar: the John Burton Foundation for Children without Homes (JBF), National Network for Youth (NN4Y), and the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA).
To build on this momentum, the Alliance is producing yet another webinar (with co-sponsors the NN4Y and DCAYA) titled “Youth Targeted Point-In-Time Counts: What You Need to Know!” This time the webinar will feature Peter Connery of Applied Survey Research and will focus on:
Developing Key Partnerships;
Safety and Privacy Concerns;
Deployment of Teams to Conduct the Counts;
The Survey Process;
Rural Communities; and
Per usual, we will have time for a robust Q&A session to answer as many questions as possible.
Please join us on Thursday, October 18, at 1:30 P.M. EST by registering for this important webinar.
... Read More »
Some thoughts from Maddison on the end of the summer
September 06, 2012
Today’s guest blog is from Maddison Bruer, who has been providing periodic updates in our blog this summer on her work with Bridges of Norman.
With the end of August comes the end to summer vacations for students across the country. My summer vacation is no different. As I write this blog post I am sitting in my Research Methods class at The George Washington University.
I can say with a good degree of certainty that my months away from academia were unique. As most of you know, I worked at a youth homeless shelter in Oklahoma that I once called home. Formerly named “Independent Living Services for Youth,” Bridges has become an innovative program that sets education above all else. For the many young adults living on the streets or couch-surfing, Bridges was more than a homeless shelter, it was an education program, a support system, and a family that many had never had before. Bridges was all these things to me and so much more.
Bridges is a part my story, and part of the reason I am living my dream of higher education. Thus, when I won GW’s Shapiro Public Service Award, which gave me the chance to study Bridges’ programs from ‘the other side’ I was ecstatic, and even more so when I learned I could share my thoughts with the Alliance’s community.
Over... Read More »
The Latest in Foster Care Data - AFCARS
August 30, 2012
An estimated 400,540 children and youth were in foster care on September 30, 2011, according to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) preliminary report released July, 2012. AFCARS is a child welfare federal reporting system that collects case-level information on all children in foster care for whom state agencies are responsible for placement, care or supervision.
By and large, the number of children and youth in foster care has decreased over the years, as has the amount of time they spend in the system. However, challenges remain for older youth emancipating from foster care, who may not receive the proper tools and opportunities to succeed through the case planning process. Homelessness is a particular horrific outcome for youth who don’t receive strategic and thoughtful case planning.
Selected AFCARS Data (FC = Foster Care)
Fiscal Year (Total # of Children & Youth in FC)
# of Youth Ages 12-20 in FC
# of Youth in Supervised Independent Living
# of Youth w/ Case Goal of Long Term FC
# of Youth w/ Case Goal of Emancipation
# of Children & Youth in FC over 2 Years*
# of Youth Who Exited FC at the age of 17 and ... Read More »
Adapting Host Homes to Meet Rural Needs
August 13, 2012
Today’s post was written by Edward J. SanFilippo, Youth Policy Fellow for the Alliance.
Over the last few years, host homes have gained traction as a means of housing youth experiencing homelessness in rural areas. Host homes entail a formalized, mutual agreement between a community member and a service provider. The community member provides shelter, food and sometimes transportation for youth, while the provider delivers case management services. Community members typically receive a small stipend and undergo training and background checks.
One of the great strengths of host homes is their flexibility, since communities can adapt the model to fit localized needs and budget limitations:
The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) initiated the Rural Host Home Demonstration Project to serve youth who live in rural areas not served by shelter facilities. In this program, youth under age 18 can receive:
Shelter for up to 21 days;
Assistance staying connected to their school; and
An aftercare plan with continuing support upon exiting the program.
Youth Advocates of Sitka, Inc., in Sitka, Alaska, implemented a resource home program through their Transitional Living Program (TLP). Youth up to age 21 can receive:
Housing for up to 18 months;
Active resource parent involvement through age 18;
Mentoring to develop independent living skills through age 21;
Counseling and case management; and
Access to housing vouchers and affordable housing.
Resource homes receive:
A stipend of $30 per day per child; and
Extensive training opportunities,... Read More »
Keynote Remarks and Workshop Materials
August 13, 2012
It has been almost a month now since the Alliance’s National Conference on Ending Homelessness, and we have been doing our best to make sure that you have access to as much of our conference materials as possible. All the workshop materials that presenters provided to us have been placed on our website here, where they are available for download. We will continue to update the page as we receive materials.
Finally, we have already received numerous requests for the keynote remarks that our CEO and President Nan Roman delivered at the conference, so we thank you for your patience. We have finallypublished them on our website, and we are including them in this blog post below.
NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENDING FAMILY HOMELESSNESS NAN ROMAN
President and CEO
July 16 2012
Good afternoon and welcome to the 2012 National Alliance on Ending Homelessness. I want to extend our most heartfelt and deep thanks to all of you for being here today. We have over 1400 people in attendance – a record! Most of you are here because you have a burning desire to learn from your colleagues what you can do to improve your own approaches to ending homelessness. You want to know about the most effective practices and the most promising innovations that will work for you. Many of you have traveled far and put a lot of resources into making... Read More »
Preparing for Your Community’s Point in Time Count
August 07, 2012
January 2013 will be here before you know it. And what does that mean? In January many communities across the country will be conducting point in time (PIT) counts of persons experiencing homelessness.
Why Are PIT Counts Important?
Collecting and using data on both sheltered and unsheltered unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness can help communities improve policies and programming;
Data can provide communities with a baseline of the number of unaccompanied youth to determine if there are increases or decreases over time;
Data can be used to help with requesting funding through the grant process;
Results of the PIT count can raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness.
Why is Including Youth Important?
Historically, unaccompanied youth are undercounted during PIT counts; therefore, many communities do not have an accurate estimate of the prevalence and nature of youth homelessness.
Annually, HUD is mandated to submit a report to Congress called the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR). The report describes the number and characteristics of all people experiencing homelessness across the nation. If youth are left out, then Congress is not provided with that data within the report and they will have less information to make informed decisions about funding and resources at the federal level.
Alliance Tools and Resources
The Alliance has developed tools and resources to help communities purposefully include youth in their PIT counts. Over the next few months we will do even more to help everyone plan, organize and... Read More »
Another Update from Maddison Bruer
August 06, 2012
Today’s guest blog is from Maddison Bruer, who we will be hearing from periodically on our blog this summer as she updates us on her work withBridges of Norman.
Hi ya’ll! It seems the longer I stay here in Oklahoma, the more my southern roots take over. I hope all of you are having a fantastic summer, as I have been. One of my part-time jobs this summer is working under the supervision of a Geography professor at Oklahoma University doing research on one of the predominant Native American tribes, the Chickasaw, and how tobacco use impacts their nation.
The reason I mention this is twofold, one being that it has taught me a lot about research methods, which I believe is important for my work on the youth homelessness front, two being that while visiting the small town of Ada, Oklahoma (the capital of the Chickasaw Nation) to conduct some field research, I stumbled upon a youth shelter. At first glance, I was astounded to have found another youth shelter. As many of you probably know, youth shelters here are few and far between.
I asked my team to stop and I hopped out to do some investigating. The building was very new looking and well maintained, but I must say I was slightly shocked to see babies of all ages just sitting on the sidewalks, half clothed, and some crying.
This was the... Read More »
Congressman Launches Anti-Bullying Caucus
July 30, 2012
Today’s post was written by Edward J. SanFilippo, Youth Policy Fellow for the Alliance.
On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Congressman Mike Honda and his colleagues launched the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus(CABC). The CABC is a bipartisan caucus made up of members of Congress who are “committed to the belief that all communities deserve a safe environment to thrive, and that our nation is in urgent need of solutions that stop bullying – both offline and online – now and forever.”
While the link between bullying and homelessness might seem remote, youths often cite school issues as a factor in their pathway to homelessness. Bullying can enhance feelings of isolation and can contribute to a youth feeling disconnected from their community. Problems at home only exacerbate this problem. As a colleague recently stated, if a youth feels marginalized at school and misunderstood (or worse) at home, they might see leaving as their only option.
“More than thirteen million children are teased, taunted, and physically assaulted by their peers each year,” Chairman Honda said in a statement. “This bullying is not confined to classroom walls; the fear and hurt that so many people feel in America today is an urgent call to action.”
The CABC is seeking to address the bullying component of this problem, and the Alliance is one of the organizations formally supporting the caucus. Our focus,... Read More »
Our 2012 Conference: Some Themes and thoughts
July 20, 2012
We’d like to thank the nearly 1,500 practitioners, public officials and other stakeholders who took time out of their busy schedules to attend our 2012 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. For us in the Alliance, the level of enthusiasm and positivity on display in the plenary sessions and workshops was immensely gratifying. The homeless assistance community has come far, in terms of its overall level of sophistication and focus on implementation in order to get results, and the conference was a great opportunity for people to share what they have learned, as well as for those of us in the community to engage in a discussion about what we still must do to achieve our goals.
In her remarks at the conference’s closing plenary, Alliance CEO Nan Roman touched on a few of the themes that emerged over the course of the three days. I’ll expand on some of those here.
Targeting – The message came through loud and clear: there are a range of interventions to draw upon, but for an intervention to be successful it must be targeted at the right people. Specifically, supportive housing is our most intensive intervention, and it is designed for the most vulnerable population with the most severe disabilities. If such people are screened out in favor of people with fewer challenges, they will live and probably die on the streets.
Olmstead – The Olmstead case reminded us that large programs devoted solely to housing p... Read More »
Leaders in the Fight Against Youth Homelessness honored
July 13, 2012
On Wednesday, July 12, the White House and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recognized some of the foremost leaders in responding to youth homelessness at Champions of Change: Fight Against Homelessness. The 13 awardees shared their own experiences serving youth in two panel discussions hosted by the Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Bryan Samuels of the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families.
A recurring theme of the day was the shortage of resources needed to address the problem of youth homelessness. During the discussion, one panelist speculated that New York City’s subway system could be that city’s largest provider of overnight accommodation for homeless youth.
Panelists also spoke about the importance of helping youth and their families reconnect and ensuring that appropriate services are in place for them when that is not possible. In Santa Clara, CA, up to a third of youth served by the Bill Wilson Center have homeless parents, which has led the agency to increase the resources it provides to help families and their children stay together.
Panelists explored how to improve services for youth, many of whom have complex needs. Awardee Sherilyn Adams of Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco noted that the difficulty lies not in dealing with the kids themselves but, rather, contending with the insufficient systems meant to support them.
To learn more about the Champions of Change, visit the USICH website. A video of the even... Read More »
Upcoming Webinar: Improving the Crisis Response for Youth
July 09, 2012
The Alliance estimates that, over the course of a year, approximately 550,000 homeless youth and young adults are in need of emergency shelter, with some of them requiring even longer-term housing options. Additionally, there are approximately 1.3 million youths under the age of 18 who are absent from their homes for shorter periods of time that may need short-term emergency housing. Unfortunately, the current emergency shelter capacity in our country is not large enough to handle this volume of young people, and the adult emergency shelter system is not always a safe or accommodating option.
On Wednesday, July 11, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, the Alliance will host “Improving the Crisis Response for Youth,” a webinar that will focus on keeping youth off the streets and away from the dangers of life on the streets, like violence, drugs and sexual exploitation. This webinar will discuss host homes and other alternatives to physical shelter beds, as well as ways of improving the responsiveness of the adult crisis system to the needs of youth in crisis.
The webinar will feature Samantha Batko, Program and Policy Analyst at the National Alliance to End Homelessness; Kristen Granatek, Manager of Technical Assistance and Program Services at the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness; and Mark Kroner, Director of the Lighthouse Training Institute out of Lighthouse Youth Services.... Read More »