Ending Homelessness Today — Youth
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!
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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.
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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 course.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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 »
DC to conduct count of homeless youth
March 03, 2011
Yesterday, we talked about how help is long overdue for homeless youth. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: there is not enough information about this very vulnerable, often overlooked population.
In fact, there isn’t even a baseline count; that is, we don’t even really know how many homeless youth there are in the country.
This is why the Alliance is urging communities to include youth in their annual point-in-time counts. All communities are required to regularly conduct counts of their local homeless populations (required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development) and while “youth” is a line item, hardly any communities report youth numbers.
But we need to start counting.
Our own district is starting this year. The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates is conducting a homeless youth survey in mid-March in concert with the George Washington University and the Interagency Council on Homelessness. The effort is meant to gauge how many youth are experiencing homelessness in the District, how youth in the District become homeless, and what the community can provide with services and programs to assist youth out of homelessness and into stable housing conditions.
DC is taking an essential step forward. In order to solve a problem, we must first fully understand it – and conducting this kind of count can increase our knowledge on this important social problem.
How does the youth homelessness situation look like in your community? What steps ar... Read More »
Why Aren’t We Counting the Kids?
January 04, 2011
This January, every Continuum of Care (CoC) in the United States will be conducting a point-in-time count of their homeless population. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants an accurate count of all people experiencing homelessness in a community – so they require communities to submit a count when they apply for homeless assistance funding.
Trouble is, we’re not getting the full picture. All too often, unaccompanied youth (kids not with their parents), get overlooked during these counts.
Communities have found that young people (under the age of 25) don’t behave like their adult counterparts: they don’t congregate in the same areas, they don’t always access the same services, they just can’t be found in the same places. So to get an accurate count of the total homeless population, communities must develop a strategy specifically targeting unaccompanied homeless youth.
Why, you ask? That’s a great question. Because we know that point-in-time counts are no picnic. We know communities are already expending tremendous resources to conduct counts. We know that asking communities develop yet another program to count specifically unaccompanied youth can seem cumbersome. We get it, we know, it’s not easy.
But they’re our kids. We all know they’re out there, we all know they need our help. Research has demonstrated that youth experiencing homelessness are at higher risk of experiencing violence, abuse, exploitation, and a host of other dangers. But we still don’t have... Read More »
Researchers Have Fun Too
December 07, 2010
As the only non-researchy member of the Homelessness Research Institute at the Alliance, I felt especially privileged to be a guest at today’s meeting of the Research Council – a gathering of the leading thinkers on homelessness. I was lucky to be seated at a table with Dennis Culhane, Jill Khadduri, Mary Beth Shinn, Bob Rosenheck, and representatives from a smattering of federal agencies: HHS, Commerce, HUD, Census, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
And after a morning spent going around the table to discuss everyone’s latest research efforts, those agency liaisons took their turns. We eagerly anticipated learning what, if anything, our federal partners are doing to advance the research necessary to end homelessness. What projects are they initiating? What questions are they asking and answering? What are they doing to bring us closer to a country where everyone has a place to call home?
This and that, it turns out.
By far the most impressive agency was the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They’re pursuing a number of reports and studies to examine the effects of some of the most promising strategies to end homelessness, including: research on the Housing and Services for Homeless Persons Demonstration, research on youth aging out of foster care, and research on the effectiveness of prevention (to name just a few). What’s admirable about the array of research topics is not how widely varied they are – but how they re... Read More »
Where are the great youth homelessness programs?
November 29, 2010
This morning, while compiling the weekend’s clips, I noticed a number of news stories about homeless youth.
Niche topics in this field all have their time: In January, it’s about community counts, in February it can be about the cold and shelters; you can count on a slew of stories about veterans in November and stories urging charity and philanthropy once the holidays roll around. But the last few weeks have been unusual – stories from North Carolina and Wisconsin and Virginia and Ohio about homeless young people.
And it’s about time.
We’ve talked about it before (well, Jeremy has.) Youth homelessness is an issue that’s often overlooked and under-examined. Youth, in that no man’s land between child and adult, can baffle homeless assistance providers who often deal with single adults or families. Unaccompanied youth – sometimes youth who age out of the foster care system or exit the juvenile justice system or run away from home – can be faced with an overwhelming dearth of services available to them once they find themselves homeless.
And it’s the perfect time to address such a problem.
The Alliance has kicked off an effort encouraging communities to include youth in next January’s point-in-time counts – and we’re also smack in the middle of a site visit campaign, encouraging local service providers to invite their Members of Congress to drop by and observe their assistance programs. Making the issue real – by collectin... Read More »
Ending Youth Homelessness with the Alliance Site Visit Campaign
November 23, 2010
Today’s guest post comes to us from Alliance Advocacy intern Jeremy Nichols.
As you already know (because we wrote about it last month), The Alliance’s Advocacy team has been asking you guys to get involved in the Youth Site Visit Campaign.
And thanks to you, we’re rolling right along! So far, 16 communities have committed to conducting site visits, from places like Maryland, Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania. The amount of time and dedication put in by our partners in the field has been amazing and it’s been a real pleasure to be a part of the campaign!
In case you forgot what the Youth Site Visit Campaign was all about, here’s a little refresher: over the holiday season, homelessness assistance providers have asked Members of Congress to come out and get a first-hand look at all of the good their programs are doing for at-risk youth in the community
Often just outside the scope of media attention, youth homelessness is a serious problem in the United States, with an estimate of 50,000 youth living on the streets.
What can we do to fix this? First, we need to increase awareness and get key decision-makers to understand that this a much larger issue than many people initially think. And that’s where you come in.
With the Youth Site Visit Campaign, we hope to:Raise awareness among Members of Congress about the issue of youth homelessnessStrengthen local relationships with Member... Read More »