HPRP Youth Program Profiles: AIRS


National Alliance to End Homelessness

Solutions Brief | September 21, 2010

Files: PDF | 108 KB | 1 page

nameAIRS, located in Baltimore, MD, has been serving low-income and homeless individuals and families since 1987. The organization provides connections to health care, job training, and supportive housing for youth, individuals, and
families, many of whom have HIV/AIDS or disabilities. AIRS is also a licensed Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) and buys and develops distressed properties to expand Baltimore’s affordable housing inventory.

HPRP Initative
AIRS is using their HPRP funds to highlight the needs of and enhance knowledge about at-risk and homeless youth in Baltimore.

Three Service Navigators conduct street outreach to find youth between the ages of 14 and 24 and connect them with the appropriate resources. The majority of services offered through the AIRS program are referrals to adult emergency services, connections to supportive housing, and workforce
development. The Service Navigators are mobile and accessible; they can complete intakes in the field and use their cell phones to text youth. AIRS also operates the City Steps Youth Resource Center (opened in 2008) where youth can receive services after they’ve connected with a Service Navigator
or to complete an initial intake.

HPRP dollars provide rent arrears and moving assistance for at-risk families with children between the ages of 14 and 17 and for at-risk youth under the age of 24. For many youth, the assistance they receive is short-term crisis management. Those who are more involved are exposed to the
AIRS program philosophy: fostering independence and development by meeting the youth where they are and molding the services to their needs.

Community Partnerships
The City of Baltimore is the fiscal agent for the HPRP grant and the local United Way is the administrative leader with the funds. AIRS receives their grant as one in a three-pronged approach of implementing HPRP.

Their service delivery has been a two-way education and resource sharing process connecting youth over 18 with appropriate adult services and educating adult services on the special needs of youth. As a result, homeless service providers in Baltimore have engaged in a critical and exciting dialogue about service allocation and how to best reach all the homeless populations of Baltimore.

A significant challenge AIRS Service Navigators face is the inability to serve youth who do not have their own apartment lease. Restrictions in their HPRP contract prevent them from providing assistance to such young people.

Since November 2009, 275 unduplicated intakes have been completed by the Service Navigators. AIRS expects to serve over 400 youth each year.

As a result of the HPRP program initiative, AIRS compiled a Resource Manual and now uses it to train other service providers about the unique needs of homeless youth and existing service options.

HPRP has expanded AIRS presence among youth. The Service Navigators are becoming well known throughout the community and youth seek them out. Additionally, the City Steps Resource Center is a hub of activity for youth. AIRS has started hiring youth to answer phones and work in the Resource Center as outreach apprentices. This will allow the Service Navigators to have more time to follow up on service connections and track outcomes.

AIRS has utilized their HPRP funds in creative ways to build local resource networks. The program has reached beyond anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the numbers of previously hidden at-risk and homeless youth. The completed
intakes have already exceededexpectations and highlighted the depth of the need in Baltimore.