Ending Homelessness Today — Youth
New Page Dedicated to Young Parents on Alliance Website
June 29, 2012
In 2010, the most recent annual data we have from HUD, there were nearly 170,000 homeless households with children in the nation. We know that a large number of those households are headed by young parents. In fact, the Alliance estimates that over 25 percent of homeless families are headed by a young adult under the age of 25—that’s approximately 50,000 to 60,000 families a year.
Because these families are accessing the homeless services through the adult family system, their needs as developing young adults may not necessarily be noticed or attended to and there may be some solutions to their homelessness that are being overlooked.
We know that the majority of homeless youth return home to family and that family intervention is a strategy that can effectively end homelessness not just for youth under the age of 18, but also for youth over the age of 18. When serving a family headed by a young adult, providers should be attentive to whether or not there is a parent or extended family member that is willing to take in the young parent and their child(ren). This may provide a more stable and supportive living arrangement for a young parent.
For young parents that cannot be reunified with family or a caring adult, rapid re-housing, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing have all proven effective in ending a young parents’ homelessness when properly targeted. The Alliance has created a new page on its website dedicated to young parents. The page provides more detail on what families headed by young parents look like, the interventions that may be appropriate for them, and a number of resources that provide more details on those interventions.... Read More »
Learning More About Homelessness Research
June 19, 2012
Today's post was written by Christian Brandt, Federal Policy Intern for the Alliance.
Last Wednesday I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting for the Research Council, a group comprised of prominent researchers in the areas of homelessness and housing from around the country. The Council meets to gather and share their new information and recent research activities, propose new research to fill existing gaps, and guide the agenda of the Homelessness Research Institute, the research division of the Alliance. At the end of most meetings some kind of research agenda is prepared from the meeting’s conversation. This time the Council was visited by several researchers from HUD who were able to listen and respond to the suggestions that the researchers made. Besides being among greats within the homelessness and housing sphere, it was really cool to be able to see how the Alliance sets its research agenda and interacts with agencies like HUD.
The meeting covered a vast swath of topics, from youth homelessness, to child welfare and housing instability, to homelessness among veterans and single men. The conversation was a whirlwind of acronyms, abbreviations, and statistics, most of which went way over my head, but all of which are extremely important to know and definitely expanded my understanding of all things related to homelessness. Many of the ideas that the Council discussed have been questions that researchers have been trying to answer for years but have... Read More »
Moving Forward on a Framework to End Youth Homelessness
June 12, 2012
The following are remarks from the Alliance's President and CEO, Nan Roman, regarding the U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services' new framework to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020, as announced at a live webcast of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness meeting.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness applauds the commitment of Chairman Sebelius and the members of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to end youth homelessness by 2020. For far too long the plight of unaccompanied children and young adults has gone unaddressed. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness brought much needed attention to this particularly vulnerable population. The USICH Proposed Framework for Ending Youth Homelessness is an important next step in laying out what the Federal government will do to achieve this goal.
The Alliance concurs with the major focus areas in the Framework: sizing the population; identifying the key segments of the population; identifying solutions for each segment; and going to scale with the solutions for each segment. We also support the outcomes of housing, connection, wellbeing, and education/employment.
Earlier this year the Alliance made a preliminary effort, using existing data, to estimate the size and segments of the population and examined this information for implications to policy and practice. Based on this framework as well as the USICH Framework presented today, the Alliance offers the following thoughts for the future.
Improving Data. The Alli... Read More »
Live Webcast of USICH Council Meeting Today
June 12, 2012
Today, June 12, at 1:30 p.m. ET, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USHICH) meeting, chaired by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, will be streamed live online. Today’s meeting will feature a presentation by the U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services (HHS that will announce a new framework to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020.
The Alliance’s own Nan Roman will be on a panel of experts who will participate in a discussion immediately following the presentation of the new framework. The other experts on the panel will be Dana Scott, State Coordinator for Homeless Education for the Colorado Department of Education and Vice President of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth; and Bob Mecum, Executive Director of Lighthouse Youth Services.
Check back here at the Alliance’s blog this afternoon to read more about the presentation and the Alliance’s response.... Read More »
Moving from At-Risk to At-Potential
June 08, 2012
Best Practices and Policies for LGBTQ Youth Experiencing Homelessness
Many recommended best policies and practices have been developed for housing and serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. How many check marks would your organization earn for implementing the following policies and practices to increase LGBTQ youth’s potential for increased success?
Create a welcoming environment where non-discrimination and non-harassment policies are implemented and communicated to all youth, families, and community partners;
Place youth in safe and appropriate shelter and housing programs based upon both their gender identity and an individualized assessment;
Make cultural competency training available and mandatory for all employees to ensure that a welcoming and inclusive environment is created;
Deliver family intervention services that increase family acceptance of their child’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity to decrease youth’s risky behavior;
Partner with LGBT and/or transgender specific organizations in your community to better provide services and referrals to youth and their families, and participate in coalitions to make other programs aware of services for LGBT youth;
Improve targeting and outreach for LGBT youth by tailoring street outreach efforts to locales where transgender youth congregate;
Collect and manage confidential information during the intake process to inform programmatic and policy responses, and to ensure that staff do not violate a youth’s privacy;
Provide or make available supportive healthcare services that meet the unique health needs of transgender youth to improve their access to proper heal... Read More »
So, What’s Going on with Appropriations?
May 31, 2012
As regular readers of this blog know, we write fairly often about federal homelessness appropriations – what’s happening, how you can get involved, and what various proposals would mean for your daily work on the ground to prevent and end homelessness. But we haven’t written about appropriations (the federal funding process) in several weeks, so you may be wondering: what’s the latest news?
The House and Senate are both busy working on their fiscal year (FY) 2013 funding bills. We have been tracking three particular bills very closely, so read on for more information on each of those funding measures!
HUD. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its FY 2013 bill to fund the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The full Senate has yet to vote on the legislation, though it may do so in the coming months. The Senate’s version included $2.146 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs – not as much as the $2.231 billion requested by the President, but still a $245 million increase over FY 2012!
The House has not yet released its FY 2013 HUD funding bill, though it is expected to do so shortly. (Sign up for our McKinney-Vento Campaign list or our Advocacy Updates for the latest details!)
VA. The Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate have approved their FY 2013 funding bills for programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – including targeted homeless veteran programs. Both bills would provide the Administration’s requested 33 percent increase ... Read More »
Advocating for LGBTQ Homeless Youth with Cyndi Lauper
May 11, 2012
On May 10, 2012, I had the pleasure of spending the entire day with Cyndi Lauper lobbying on behalf of LGBTQ youth that experience homelessness. Along with Gregory Lewis, Executive Director of Cyndi’s foundation, the True Colors Fund, the Center for American Progress and the Human Rights Campaign we spent the morning briefing Cyndi on how to lobby members of Congress. The three “asks” we covered were:
Increase funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) by $12 million.
Support the Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness, which was introduced by Senator Kerry last year, a section of which would establish a demonstration project to increase family acceptance of their LGBTQ children and youth in order to decrease risky behavior of children and youth. The demonstration project would be based upon the work of the Family Acceptance Project.
Add LGBT language to future RHYA reauthorizations: First, add a general statement of nondiscrimination for RHYA that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, prohibiting grant recipients from discriminating against LGBT youth. Second, require RHYA grant applicants to include LGBT youth in any planning documents that are currently needed to qualify for a grant.
We all made visits to the congressional offices of Sen. Franken (D-MN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA), and Senator John Kerry (D-MA). We also met with people HUD, HHS, and USICH. I am pleased to report that everyone was very receptive to Cyndi’s personal experiences and observations with LGB... Read More »
Introducing Guest Blogger Maddison Bruer
May 08, 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 with Bridges of Norman.
Hello everybody! My name is Maddison Bruer and I’ve been given the opportunity this summer to share a little bit about myself and a project I am working on this summer with you on the Alliance's blog.
First, a bit about myself: I am finishing up my first year at The George Washington University studying International Affairs and Psychology. Home for me is Norman, Oklahoma. When I was in first grade my class had "career day" where every first grader wrote a story about what he or she wanted to be when they were all grown up. I said police officer. Those dreams of serving in the public sector have followed me into my adulthood as I take steps to one day work for the CIA or State Department. If I fail at said aspirations, I’ve vowed that I will move to Miami and join the police academy. I love the heat anyway. Right now, I’m living part of my dream by interning for the Peace Corps and working with a committee to revamp the Volunteer application and delivery system. After months of living and breathing Peace Corps, I’m realizing the vast opportunities that could come from continuing that relationship as a Volunteer myself, after college of cours... Read More »
Track of Workshops on Youth Homelessness at Upcoming Alliance Conference
May 07, 2012
In February, at the first ever National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, the Alliance introduced a brand new framework for ending youth homelessness. Springboarding off the introduction of that framework, the Alliance is featuring a wide variety of content at the upcoming National Conference on Ending Homelessness to be held July 16-18 in Washington, DC, including, but not limited to:
Systems-level outcome measures and approaches for communities working to end youth homelessness,
Family intervention strategies to successfully prevent youth from becoming homeless and reunite youth who have become homeless with their families,
Strategies for engaging and maintaining high need youth in housing programs,
Improving outcomes of youth aging out of the child welfare system and those exiting the juvenile justice system to prevent homelessness,
Scattered site housing models for youth,
Improving employment outcomes for youth, and
Creating welcoming and safe environments for LGBTQ youth to get these youth off of the street and keep them safe while in care..
These workshops are strategically placed throughout the conference to allow attendees to attend as many sessions on youth as possible. This will truly be a conference not to be missed for anyone working to end youth homelessness in their community. The early registration rate for the conference is only available online until 10am EST on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Or, you may mail in your registration form postmarked by Wednesday, May 30, 2012.... Read More »
New Youth Count Media Map and Webpage
April 27, 2012
Do you know the number of homeless youth in your county or city? Communities across the nation have been conducting targeted youth counts, which the Alliance has gathered and placed on its new Youth Count media map and webpage to answer that question. The map will show you which communities have conducted counts, their results and a brief synopsis of the methodology used. Also, you’ll find a link to the full report to read in its entirety. We hope that this map will encourage your community to conduct a targeted youth count that can be used to inform policy and the scaling of interventions.
We also want to provide resources to communities to help them to either improve their counts or to conduct initial counts of homeless youth. Therefore, you will find resources on our new webpage such as webinars, briefs and a toolkit about counting youth.
There’s a lot more that needs to be done to be able to solve the issue of youth homelessness. What can you do? What can you encourage others to do?
What you can do:
Form a committee to find out how youth can be targeted during your community’s next Point-In-Time count.
Get involved in your community’s bi-annual Point-In-Time Counts as a youth advocate and/or provider.
If you are already counting youth, re-visit your methodology and practices to make room for improvements.
What the Administration can do:
The U.S. Depar... Read More »
Guest Blog: The Federal Strategic Plan and Youth Homelessness
April 13, 2012
Today’s blog comes from Jennifer Ho, Deputy Director at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. She writes today about USICH’s initiative to update the Federal Strategic Plan to include further content on youth experiencing homelessness and educational outcomes of homeless or at-risk youth.
Almost two years have passed since we launched Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. With the help and support from thousands of stakeholders across the United States we have made progress against the bold goals of the Plan by increasing investment in solutions, adopting proven tools to prevent and end homelessness, breaking down silos, and improving data collection, analysis, and reporting. We remain committed to the goals of Opening Doors and to the comprehensive approach described in the Plan.
For this year's update to Opening Doors, we are responding to requests that additional content and clarity would be helpful in two key areas: early childhood learning and educational outcomes for youth and children experiencing homelessness; and broad strategies on unaccompanied youth up through age 24.
Barbara Poppe and I have toured many youth-serving programs across America since the release of Opening Doors. We have talked with many youth, as well as leadership from providers and advocacy groups. We have also convened an interagency dialogue across the many federal agencies that have youth-specific responsibilities. We have been focused on what is known about the magnitude of the problem and what interventions work best... Read More »
Ending Youth Homelessness — Themes from the NAEH Conference
February 16, 2012
Today's guest post comes to us from Shahera Hyatt.
I would ﬁrst like to start off by thanking the Alliance for explicitly including youth in this year’s conference on ending homelessness. For those of us who work day in and out on this issue, it was great to be with others to share our knowledge, experience, and passion for this work.
There were a few themes over the course of the conference regarding youth homelessness, with the ﬁrst being the need for more timely and consistent data on this population. Not only was there a workshop on this topic, but Nan Roman gave considerable time to the issue in her plenary speech on the ﬁrst day of the conference. She stated that even though the current data on the size and scope of youth homelessness is severely lacking (and I whole-heartedly agree), moving forward with the data we’ve got is absolutely critical.
To that end, she presented data from the NISMART-II in a new way, stating that about 96 percent of runaways under the age of 18 return home within one week (although many cycle in and out of homelessness). Policy Analyst Samantha Batko translated the data in a way that hasn’t been done before by identifying characteristics about the trajectory of youth homelessness in the hopes to shed new light on where interventions should be targeted.
This information indicates that supporting crisis interventions to help facilitate the process of returnin... Read More »
A Review of Federal Programs Serving Homeless Youth
November 22, 2011
Continuing our series on homeless youth, today we are going to take a look at the primary federal programs that currently serve this vulnerable population.
The only federal program that is exclusively focused on homeless youth is the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The RHYA program is made up of three components:
Street Outreach consists of outreach workers connecting youth living on the street to housing programs, hygiene kits, food, and other necessities; Basic Centers provide short-term (up to 21 days) emergency housing for youth under the age of 18 while working on reunification with their family or finding an alternative long-term housing option; and
Transitional Living Programs (TLPs) provide up to 18 months of housing and supportive services youth ages 16 to 21, including youth who are pregnant and/or parenting. TLPs manifest in a variety of models from congregate facilities to scattered site apartments with flexible rent assistance to host homes where youth live with a volunteer or subsidized family in the community.
While tens of thousands of youth are served annually by the RHYA programs, the need far outweighs the program’s capacity, which means that some homeless youth need to be served by McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For youth ages 18 and older, the McKinney Vento programs are the only federal funding source for emergency housing. Moreover, many youth, particularly a large numb... Read More »
Affordable Housing Saves on McKinney-Vento Transportation Costs
October 05, 2011
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, passed in 1987, provided children without a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” some stability in the form of school.
Thanks to McKinney-Vento, children have the right to stay in their school of origin, despite the upheaval of homelessness. This means that even if kids have to move out of their original school district (because, for example, assistance is not available in that original district), students experiencing homelessness are able to continue attending their school. Because research has shown that students perform better when their school environment is stable, McKinney-Vento requires that school districts must provide transportation for the homeless student to the school of origin.
In recent recessionary years, the cost of bussing homeless students from shelter to school has been debated. States like Massachusetts have declared that they can no longer afford the cost of bussing; others have stopped paying for it outright. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty recently released a report, “Beds Not Buses: Housing vs. Transportation for Homeless Students," arguing that a focus on housing will benefit the student and community more, while also cutting the high cost of bussing.
More specifically, the report calls for communities and schools to work together to create more affordable housing, which will prevent children from becoming homeless in the first place. The Law Center analyzed data from the Seattle area and found that “the costs to house unaccompanied homeless youth in supportive housing... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: Family, Youth, and Chronic Homelessness
August 26, 2011
Our Friday news Roundup is broken down today by some of the issue areas the Alliance works on:
Still not convinced that permanent supportive housing is the solution to chronic homelessness? Check out this story from Cleveland, Ohio and this recently published study from Australia.
The Reading Eagle out of Pennsylvania took an in-depth look at the rise in family homelessness, and the barriers some families face in finding affordable housing.
Annie Lowrey suggests one way to help the long-term unemployed is to bring back the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF). The program expired last September, which this very blog called “a low down dirty shame.”
This week, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a report finding that the child poverty rate increased 18% between 2000 and 2009, returning to the level of the early 1990s.
Monday will be back to school for many students across the country. The Tallahassee Democrat looks into what that means for students who don’t have a place to call home.
Did we miss any important news this week? Tell us in the comments!... Read More »
Ending youth homelessness through federal policy reform
June 27, 2011
Today's guest post comes to us from Alliance intern Rricha Mathur.
On June 17, I attended the Voices of Youth briefing held at the Capitol. A group of student panelists, who were and continue to be affected by homelessness, lead a stimulating conversation in which they shared their stories of homelessness, perseverance, and triumph. Currently, each speaker is enrolled in a university program. Their stories underlined that there is a lot Congress can do to help them and the millions of other youth affected by homelessness.
Some of the common struggles relayed in the heartbreaking stories by the panelists are basic and can be alleviated through federal policy. For example, many of the panelists suffered from physical and mental abuse by their parents and relatives and were thrown out of their homes. Once on the street, the young men and women struggled to find food, housing, and stability. They found barriers to food stamps due to eligibility criteria and oftentimes could not locate housing because they couldn’t put down deposits or show a credit history. Policy aimed at giving these young men and women better access to shelters and welfare programs would help their situations tremendously.
Furthermore, these students’ testimonies emphasized that education is an essential asset for homeless youth. Education was one of the major avenues these students used to create better futures. The students turned to teachers, coaches, and counselors for the guidance they lacked at home, and the... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: HUD, SF/DC, and LGBTQ youth homelessness
May 20, 2011
The unavoidable story of the week was the Washington Post series on the HUD HOME Program. We wrote about it earlier this week and pointed to some organizations that refuted the article’s accusations (including a blogpost directly from HUD). Other organizations have come out to respond to the article but we want to know your response: what do you think of this series and what it says about the housing program?
In other news, our good friend Judy Lightfoot highlighted the work of our colleagues at Building Changes in Washington. The organization is working with homeless families to make strides toward employment – a key element to both ending homelessness and gaining economic self-sufficiency.
Both San Francisco and DC are facing some troubles as local counts and the local budget – respectively - point to continued challenges in ending homelessness. San Francisco continues their ongoing battles to reduce homelessness despite economic hurdles and DC fights to maintain local funding for homeless assistance programs.
Late last week, Sen. John Kerry introduced a bill in the Senate that would, among other things, help fight LGBTQ youth homelessness. We’ve long talked about how youth homelessness has been an overlooked problem in the field – and certainly the same notion applies to LGBTQ youth homelessness. We’re excited to work on this new legislation; we’ll keep writing about it as events progress.
Happy Friday!... Read More »
Did Your Community Count Homeless Youth This Year?
April 07, 2011
We want to know if your community counted homeless youth* in the annual point-in-time count this year.
Take our survey and let us know!
Every year, communities across the nation conduct point-in-time counts of people experiencing homelessness. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a count every other year as part of a community’s application for federal funds; many communities, however, conduct one annually of their own accord.
Capitalizing on the yearly ritual, the Alliance launched a youth count campaign, encouraging communities to include youth in their 2011 counts. We put out tools to help communities figure out how to conduct youth and the importance of including this oft-overlooked community.
So we want to know how you did! Did you count youth? How so? And how many?
Take our 5 minute, 5 question survey to let us know and if you have any questions (per usual), don’t hesitate to contact us.
* Youth are those 12-24 years of age. ... Read More »
Congressional Briefing on Homeless Children, Youth, and Families
March 29, 2011
Tomorrow, the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness is holding a briefing on “Homeless Children, Youth, and Families.”
During the briefing, panelists will discuss the profound impact that homelessness wields on children and youth, as well as their parents. In addition to the loss of safe, stable housing, homelessness can cause a sense of displacement, trauma, and stress. This can corrupt positive child development, health, and school participation and create life-long costs to children and parents.
The briefing will reference the 60 Minutes segment on homeless children that cast some media attention on the problem. The briefing will also examine the growing epidemic of homeless children and families as well as model programs, strategies, and initiatives to keep children in school and to secure stable housing.
Invited speakers include:
Diane Nilan, Founder and President, HEAR US, Naperville, IL
Barbara Duffield, Policy Director, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, Washington, DC
Beth McCullough, Home and School Liaison, Adrian School District, Adrian, Michigan
Lori Criss, Chief Operating Officer, Amethyst Inc, Columbus, Ohio
Michelle Flynn, Associate Executive Director of Programs, The Road Home, Salt Lake City, Utah.
For more information about family and youth homelessness, please visit the Alliance website. If you’re interested in the Congressional Caucus on Homelessness or would like to attend the briefing, please contact the Alliance advocacy team.... Read More »
Friday News Roundup: The Components of Homelessness
March 04, 2011
This week the news media has focused on the essentials of our field: housing, data, populations, and public policy.
Let’s start right in the District. In her column, Michelle Singletary cited our own report to discuss people spending more than 50 percent of their monthly income on rent - what is called a "severe housing cost burden" - a situation that can put people at risk of homelessness.
From Tiffin, OH, the Advertiser-Tribune discussed a sticky situation concerning data collection, showing that data collection methodology should be examined as it affects count accuracy. Perhaps a dry topic for a news article, but methodology is a central component of learning about homelessness, especially at the community level.
Then there was a flurry of reports about different populations experiencing homelessness.
Both the Sacramento Bee and CNN covered veteran homelessness. The Bee zoomed in the challenges specific to women returning from combat and CNN took their turn examining the potential ramifications of federal budget cuts to vulnerable veterans (stay tuned). The Medill News Service also took a crack at state budgets and the potential impact reductions will have on homeless youth. (They’re projecting pronounced increases). And New America Media traveled to the other end of the spectrum writing about elderly people living in poverty, at risk of homelessness, while raising their own grandchildren. (Which comes as no surprise.)
Predictably, there were scant few articles about solutions but there does seem to be good... Read More »