HPRP Youth Program Profiles: New Beginnings

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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Solutions Brief | September 21, 2010

nameNew Beginnings has been serving troubled youth in and between Lewiston and Farmington, ME since 1980. The organization runs the area’s only youth shelter for youth ages 12 to 19, a transitional living program for youth 16 to 21, and offers a variety of community services including outreach, and service referrals for health care, housing, employment, and education assistance.

HPRP Initiatives
New Beginnings, traditionally a youth services provider, is an administrator of HPRP resources in Androscoggin County and serves all HPRP applicants — from youth to families to adults. HPRP applicants have to have a seven day eviction notice to be considered at-risk and may receive assistance for up to three months if they have income. The case manager assists applicants to either remain in their home or relocate and also provides budgeting training and service referrals.

Many youth who are served by HPRP are connected to New Beginnings’ Outreach and Community Service Centers. The pairing of HPRP rental assistance with New Beginnings’ more intensive case management and life skills services offers youth wrap-around services. The organization is also able to refer youth leaving the transitional living program to the HPRP case manager.

Community Partnerships
The state of Maine is the primary HPRP grantee and awarded nine subcontracts to counties throughout Maine. As the only sub-grantee in their county, New Beginnings is not formally partnered with other community agencies. However, cross-referrals are made from adult shelters, county assistance programs, and local legal aid providers.

Constraints
Mary Ruchinskas, the Community Services Director of New Beginnings, cites the level of demand in Androscoggin County to be a significant challenge. With only one case manager and limited funds, it is virtually impossible to serve everyone who needs assistance remaining in or finding housing.

The restrictions on the administration of HPRP are also challenging. Not being able to offer longer case management, HPRP to clients with no income, and not being able to serve youth who are doubled up pose barriers to some of the area’s most needy youth.

Achievements
Since December of 2009, New Beginnings’ HPRP case manager has served a total of 124 applicants. 12 of the 124 were individuals or families between the ages of 22-25. 17 were aged 18-22.

New Beginnings has also created comprehensive training programs so the youth services staff can screen and begin the intake process for youth eligible for HPRP. This has eased the burden for the HPRP case manager and also offers the essential wrap around services for the youth through New Beginnings’ other programming.