Advocacy

Young, Alone, and Homeless In The Lone Star State:  Policy Solutions to End Youth Homelessness in Texas.  Report from Texas Appleseed and the Texas Network of Youth.
New Report Released on Addressing the Intersections of Juvenile Justice Involvement and Youth Homelessness:  Principles for Change

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A young person’s involvement with the justice system can increase their likelihood of later experiencing homelessness for many reasons, including the fact that educational disruptions and juvenile delinquency records can make it harder to obtain employment. Youth experiencing homelessness may also be swept into the juvenile justice system through laws that prohibit simply being in public spaces, such as juvenile curfews, or anti-sitting or sleeping ordinances. Both juvenile justice involvement and youth homelessness have long-term negative consequences. The Principles in Part I of this document provide a roadmap for communities to help young people avoid experiencing juvenile justice system involvement and/or youth homelessness. This includes doing the following:

Principle 1: Ensure that the laws and policies in your jurisdiction do not lead youth experiencing homelessness to be cited, arrested, or charged for survival acts or “quality of life” offenses.

Principle 2: Ensure that young people are diverted from juvenile justice system involvement whenever possible, and that any diversion programs or services are appropriately tailored to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness.

Principle 3: When juvenile justice system involvement cannot be avoided, ensure that comprehensive transition planning begins immediately after—and continues throughout—a youth’s confinement or probation supervision.

Principle 4: Ensure your community has both long- and short-term safe housing options available for youth who are, or have been, involved with the juvenile justice system.

Principle 5: Ensure your community provides youth and their families with related services and supports that can help them obtain and keep safe and stable housing.

Principle 6: Ensure that youth, and their families, are not kicked out of their homes or denied housing because the youth have been arrested or adjudicated for a delinquency offense.

Principle 7: Ensure youth help lead and shape the identification and implementation of policy and practice solutions to address the connections between juvenile justice and youth homelessness.

Principle 8: Ensure efforts prioritize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, gender non-conforming (GNC) youth, youth of color, and other over-represented populations to address and reduce the disproportionalities that exist in the populations of youth experiencing homelessness and/or involved with the juvenile justice system.

Principle 9: Ensure that law enforcement, courts, schools, and service providers employ gender-responsive and age- and culturally appropriate trauma-informed responses when working with youth.

Principle 10: Undertake and fund research to help better understand the issue of youth homelessness and identify solutions.

 Policy Brief: Youth Homelessness and Juvenile Justice: Opportunities for Collaboration and Impact

Each year, over 1 million youth will have some involvement with law enforcement or the justice system.i Nearly 400,000 will be on their own and homeless for some period of time.ii Although the data on the overlap between these populations is limited, we know that it is significant. A recent study interviewed runaway and homeless youth in 11 U.S. cities and found that nearly 44% had stayed in a jail, prison, or juvenile detention center, nearly 78% have had at least one interaction with the police, and nearly 62% had been arrested at some point in their lives.

Read the rest of the story >>


More than a Runaway Problem: UH Researcher Tackles Youth Homelessness
Graduate College of Social Work Offers Solutions to Growing Texas Concern
By Chris Stipes 713-743-8186
February 20, 2017

Click to see full article

Click to see full article

 


Voices of Youth Count Offers Model for Youth-Informed and Youth-Led Homelessness Counts

This summer, 22 rural and urban communities around the country are conducting a street count and survey of youth experiencing homelessness as part of Voices of Youth Count, led by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. This count will supply critical new data to help inform our national policy and funding priorities.

Learn more about Voices of Youth Count through Regional Coordinator Katy Miller’s recap of her recent participation in Seattle’s count.


WHITE HOUSE RELEASES NEXT STEPS FOR ENDING YOUTH HOMELESSNESS

Last month the White House hosted the second Policy Briefing to End Youth Homelessness. They have now released a summary of those conversations and the next steps to reaching a preliminary draft of criteria and benchmarks for reaching that goal.

Read the White House brief »


ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES FAMILY AND YOUTH SERVICES BUREAU STREET OUTREACH PROGRAM

The Street Outreach Program (SOP), administered by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Administration on Children, Youth and Families, provides outreach to runaway and homeless youth on the streets or in areas that increase the risk of sexual exploitation with the goal to help young people get off the streets. To that end, the program promotes efforts by its funded grantees to build relationships between street outreach workers and homeless street youth. Grantees also provide support services that aim to move youth into shelter or stable housing and prepare them for independence. Homeless youth also use SOP drop-in centers to shower, eat a hot meal or obtain food coupons, receive hygiene kits, and/or obtain referrals for medical, dental, mental health, or social services.

 Click here to read the details of  this study


Five Revealing Facts About Homeless Youth

1 Many youth who leave home are not ready to be self-sufficient.
2 Most homeless youth return home.
3 Many homeless youth attend school.
4 Many youth remain connected to the internet and social media, despite being homeless.
5 When it comes to sex work, homeless youth are being coerced and manipulated, and participate out of desperation.

Read the details of this article byLINA BRESLAVby clicking here >>


 NEW DEMONSTRATION FOR YOUTH PROVIDES UP TO FIVE YEARS OF HOUSING AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY RESOURCES

Public housing and child welfare agencies have an exciting new opportunity to come together and offer housing and services to youth for up to three and a half years longer than traditional programming.

USICH Policy Director Jasmine Hayes and HUD’s Special Assistant for Homeless Policy Kevin Solarte explains >> Click here to learn more. 


ENDING HOMELESSNESS FOR UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH AGE 18-24

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (Alliance) estimates that approximately 150,000 unaccompanied youth and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 experience an episode of homelessness each year.1 However, resources to serve them fall far short of demand. As a result, approximately 15,000 youth were found to be unsheltered (sleeping on the streets, in abandoned buildings, tents, cars, or other places not meant for human habitation) on a single night in January 2015, and many more likely went undetected.2

Click here to download the remainder of the article as a PDF file.


 

“When Homeless Youth Attend College Where do they Stay”
written by Mindy Mitchell

September is back-to-school month, so it’s a perfect time to talk about the difficulties facing one group of people who we might not always think about as experiencing homelessness: college students.

Everyone knows how important getting some kind of post-secondary education can be to lifting people out of poverty, but people with low-incomes, including homeless youth, face particular barriers to completing college. And failing to complete college can burden low-income students further by increasing their debt without increasing their income.

In 2013, more than 56,000 students identified as homeless on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). And while many of the issues that contribute to making college completion difficult for other low-income and first-generation students are the same for homeless students, their homeless status creates an additional barrier.

College students have two housing options: on campus or off campus. Full-time homeless students usually only have the one: on campus. This could be a good thing, though, because there is evidence that living on campus leads to greater academic success.

However, as a report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research indicates, the cost of room and board (like tuition) has steadily increased in the last 20 years. In fact, room and board have become at least as expensive as tuition for today’s college students.

(Aside from the barrier of sheer expense, homeless students who live on campuses that close dormitories during breaks also have the particular barrier of having nowhere to go during those times.)

For some homeless students, on campus housing may not be an option (most dorms don’t allow families with children, for example), but homeless students can also face barriers off campus. For instance, students who have poor rental or credit histories (or no rental or credit histories, as is often the case with homeless youth) can find it hard to obtain housing.

But homeless youth who rely on financial aid to rent housing off campus must also face the issue of how financial aid is disbursed. Federal aid is distributed no earlier than 10 days before classes begin. (Or 30 days after classes begin for first-year, first-time borrowers of Direct Loans.) That timeline often means they can’t use financial aid to obtain stable housing until well into the semester.

Fortunately, some colleges and universities are already stepping up to reduce barriers for their students experiencing homelessness. For example, Florida State University’s Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement provides other housing options for students who live on campus but have nowhere else to go over breaks.

The university also runs a campus food pantry for and provides transportation to the grocery store for its students. You can learn more about FSU’s program and the helpful approaches other universities are taking to help their homeless students in this issue brief from the National Center for Homeless Education.

Another innovative model that can be of great help to college students experiencing homelessness is Single Stop USA, which operates in community colleges to help connect low-income students to the resources they need, including housing, to not only stay in school but to excel.

Is your organization connected to potential higher education resources for people experiencing homelessness in your community? How are colleges, universities, and trade schools part of your community’s systemic response to ending homelessness? Share your back-to-school insights with me at mmitchell@naeh.org


LINK BETWEEN HOUSING & SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Sexual violence can jeopardize a person’s housing. Lack of housing or inadequate shelter can increase the risk for sexual violence. Nearly

10% of women and 8% men who experienced housing insecurity in the past year had a higher prevalence of intimate partner violence.
Click here to download PDF with remainder of article and info-graphics.


The following story was published by the Houston Chronicle

Fort Bend seeing more homeless young people

By Rebecca Elliott | January 30, 2015 Updated: February 1, 2015 12:50pm

He only lived on the streets once, about 10 years ago, after his mom lost her job and then the apartment too. His memory of the time isn’t great – he was little, after all – but Evan Goehring still recalls some details: Packing his belongings into his mom’s minivan and selling them off bit by bit, the car getting repossessed, bumming.

In the years since, Goehring has moved from his aunt and uncle’s place in Sugar Land to a youth residential facility, later to a cluttered apartment, an emergency shelter, and back again to Sugar Land.

“I’ve always had to be that person,” Goehring, 20, said, “that one person to watch my own back when my mom couldn’t.”

Data collected in an annual count of the Houston area’s homeless population shows a steep decline in Harris and Fort Bend counties – 37 percent between 2011 and 2014, according to the Coalition for the Homeless. In Fort Bend County alone, the size of the homeless population plummeted by almost 70 percent, from 512 in 2011 to 155 in 2014.

However, that drop was accompanied by a seeming rise in youth homelessness, which advocates say traditional “point-in-time” counts struggle to account for.

The number of students identified as homeless in the Fort Bend Independent School District more than doubled between the 2009-10 and 2013-14 school years, rising steadily from 331 to 708, according to Amanda Hartley, the district’s homeless liaison. Although the district of more than 70,000 grew in that time, the jump in homelessness far outstrips its 3 percent enrollment increase over the same period.

Efforts increased

The causes for students’ homelessness varied, Hartley said, but she attributed the increase in part to the lasting effects of the recent recession, as well as a concerted effort on the part of the district to better identify homeless students.

“For a long time we have under-identified kids, and now we’re doing much better,” Hartley said.

Advocates were not surprised by the data discrepancy, noting that schools employ a different, broader definition of homelessness than is used in the annual count of the region’s homeless, which looks at those living on the streets or in shelters. Although some youth are homeless by that definition, advocates said far more are living in unstable housing conditions – like couch surfing or moving in and out of motels – which schools track.

“The numbers that come from the ‘point-in-time’ count just aren’t real accurate for homeless youth,” said Joel Levine of Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults.

Even between school districts, data varied widely. In Lamar Consolidated ISD, a smaller district in Fort Bend County, the number of students identified as homeless decreased between the 2009-10 and 2013-14 school years, from 51 to 10.

Lack of reliable data

The lack of reliable data on youth homelessness has made the issue challenging to address, advocates said, explaining that the national conversation has been focused primarily on reducing chronic homelessness among adults and veterans.

“We have a lot of qualitative stories, but we need some quantitative,” Levine said.

But with the federal goal to end family, child and youth homelessness by 2020 approaching, advocates said attention is now starting to turn to the younger population.

“There has been more of a strategic effort in the last few years,” said Katherine Barillas, a policy fellow with the advocacy organization One Voice Texas.

Last fall,the University of Houston led a study of Harris County youth ages 13-24 who were homeless or in unstable housing situations. Researchers expect to release the results of the project, YouthCount 2.0!, later this year.

In Fort Bend, youth homelessness is “very much being handled on an as-needed, grass-roots basis,” said Shannon Bloesch, executive director of Parks Youth Ranch, a 22-bed youth emergency shelter that opened in 2011.

The rural shelter south of Richmond provides housing for at-risk youth ages 7-17, enrolling them in Fort Bend ISD schools. Although some residents’ placements get extended, Bloesch said most stay a maximum of 90 days, at which point they are typically assigned to a foster home or released to family.

Family came to help

Goehring, who stayed at Parks Youth Ranch back in 2012, remembered the shelter fondly. He felt welcome there, he said, and was able to really focus on school.

But moving around so much – being uprooted time and again – took its toll.

“When I was growing up, I never really had true friends because of how much I moved,” Goehring said. In his 12 years of education, he attended about as many schools.

“I’m just very thankful that I actually have blood family that are willing to stop in their tracks to come help me,” Goehring said.

Since leaving Parks Youth Ranch, Goehring has been living with his aunt and uncle, stable. He graduated high school two years ago and has held a handful of odd jobs, though he’s now unemployed. Soon, he said, he hopes to enroll in community college, perhaps pursue a degree in network management.

Said Bloesch: “The kids are very resilient.”

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The following press release was published on www.leahy.senate.gov

Leahy, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Combat Youth Homelessness & Trafficking

Booker, Ayotte Also Join Bipartisan Effort To Support 1.6 Million Homeless Youth

January 27, 2015

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, January 27, 2015) – Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday reintroduced bipartisan legislation to curb youth homelessness, which affects 1.6 million teens throughout the country who are among the most likely to become victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) joined as original bill cosponsors.

Thirty-nine percent of the homeless population is under the age of 18, and the average age at which a teen becomes homeless is 14.7 years old.  A 2013 study by theConvenant House offers startling details about the connection between youth homelessness and human trafficking. The Leahy-Collins Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act reauthorizes programs that help youth obtain housing, education and job training. The bill includes training for service providers to identify victims of trafficking, and it includes a new provision that prohibits grantees from denying services based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Leahy and Collins introduced similar legislation last year, which earned bipartisan support in the Judiciary Committee but stalled in the Senate. With winter snowstorms in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions threatening the safety of thousands of Americans, the Senators said it is especially urgent that Congress pass this bipartisan bill.

“We often talk about human trafficking as an international problem, but the sad truth is that it is a major problem right here at home,” Senator Leahy said. “If we are to make a real difference to end modern day slavery, we must protect those who are most vulnerable and prevent the exploitation in the first place.  We cannot simply focus on ending demand and arrest our way out of this problem; we must eliminate the conditions that make these children so vulnerable. Passing the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act is an important step in that direction.”

“Despite the recent decline we have seen in chronic homelessness, there are still more than 1.6 million homeless teens in the United States,” Senator Collins said.  “As Chairman of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, one of my goals is to address chronic homelessness.  We must make sure our nation’s homeless youth have the same opportunity to succeed as other youth.  The programs reauthorized by this bill are critical in helping homeless youth stay off the street and find stable, sustainable housing.”

Senator Booker and Senator Ayotte also urged the Senate to take up and pass the bipartisan legislation.

“No young person should face the pain and dangers of homelessness,” Senator Booker said. “In urban, suburban, and rural communities all over the country, many of these vulnerable youth deal not only with the obvious hazards of homelessness, but also fall victim to emotional and physical exploitation. We have a responsibility and moral obligation to help them. I am grateful to my colleagues Senators Leahy and Collins for their leadership in introducing this legislation which will provide a pathway to housing and the life skills these young people need.”

“No child should have to go without a home, yet right now in New Hampshire, one in every four homeless people are children.  That’s a heartbreaking statistic,” Senator Ayotte said.  “We need to find solutions to this pervasive problem, including strategies to address issues like human trafficking and sexual exploitation that can sometimes lead to or coexist with homelessness.  By reauthorizing these critical programs, we can help families in New Hampshire and across the nation overcome homelessness and lead independent, fulfilling lives.”

The bill is supported by the National Network for Youth, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, the True Colors Fund, the Center for American Progress, and the Human Rights Campaign, among many others.

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Fall Community Forum: LGBTQ Homelessness Prevention

View a video of the forum by clicking here 

IMG_20141118_141017

On November 18, 2014 over 130 participants attended the HYN Community Forum on LGBTQ Homelessness Prevention: National and Local Perspectives.  Jama Shelton, Forty to None Project Director, True Colors Fund and Christopher Kerr, Clinical Director, The Montrose Center did an excellent panel presentation and discussion.  Katherine Barillas, Child Welfare Policy Director, One Voice Texas moderated the Panel.  A big thank you to Project K.I.D.S and Hope Bridge Hospital for sponsoring the Forum.

Click the links below to access the PowerPoint presentations shared during the forum:

I can’t say who I am unless you agree I’m real, Amiri Baraka, True Colors Fund

Who we are: The Montrose Center, Christopher Kerr, M.Ed., LPC, The Montrose Center 


 

Registration Opens for 2015 Family and Youth Conference

Early registration has opened for the Alliance’s 2015 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, which will take place at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina from Feb. 19 to 20, 2015, with early check-in on Feb. 18, 2015. The Alliance encourages you to register early to ensure your spot and take advantage of the early rate of $450, which ends on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 3 p.m. ET, when the regular registration rate of $525 per person will begin. Look for future updates and additional information about the Conference on the Conference website and in upcoming issues of Alliance Online News.

Register for the conference


HUD Releases Clarification on the Definition of Homelessness for Children and Youth

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a document for service providers that clarifies how children and youth qualify for emergency shelter and other assistance under HUD’s homeless assistance grants programs. The document provides hypothetical examples that illustrate how a youth’s or family’s housing circumstances can meet one of four categories of homelessness as defined by HUD, including literal homelessness, imminent risk of homelessness, homeless under other statutes, and fleeing domestic violence.

Read the document 


Recently on Ending Homelessness Today:

Congress Went Home. Now’s Your Chance to Talk to Them about Homelessness!
By Julie Klein

For homeless advocates, election season isn’t just about political ads, lawn signs, and round-the-clock news coverage. It’s also an opportunity to engage directly with members of Congress while they are home in their districts or states for the congressional recess. In this post, we outline three ways you can engage your member of Congress during the recess.

Including Youth in the 2014 PIT Count: Some Thoughts from the Experts
By Liza Doran

January is less than three months away, which means that many communities are already planning their methodologies for the upcoming 2015 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. In this post, we recap the Alliance’s recent webinar, “Prepare for the 2015 Point-in-Time Count: Enumerating Unsheltered Youth,” in which experts discussed strategies for ensuring homeless youth are included in the upcoming PIT Count.

The True Colors Forty to None Summit Rocked!
By Mindy Mitchell

Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) make up just 4 to 10 percent of the youth in the country, yet LGBTQ youth are still overrepresented among the homeless youth population. In this post, we look at the recent Forty to None Summit in New York City, where youth homeless service providers, homeless advocates, donors, and policymakers convened to discuss LGBTQ youth homelessness.


HUD Secretary Donovan to Introduce Panel Discussion on LGBT Youth Homelessness

On Monday, June 30, 2014, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan will provide the welcome address for an event in Washington, DC, highlighting the unique challenges that face lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth experiencing homelessness. The panel will include speakers from HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS), DC Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), the True Colors Fund, and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). The event will take place at 451 7th Street, SW, Brooke-Mondale Auditorium from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Here’s What We Know About Homeless Youth – The State of Homelessness 2014

Click the link above to access an article that appeared on the June edition of Alliance Online News. It’s a detailed analysis on the above mentioned report.
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May 2014 – Homeless Youth Network Presentation

Click the link to access the PowerPoint presented at the May 2014 forum:
HYN Forum PPT – May 12 2014
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The following article appeared on the April 2014 edition of the National Alliance to End Homelessness newsletter

Two Things We Have to Do Before We Can End Youth Homelessness
written by Sharon McDonald

So how do we end youth homelessness? That’s a big question, and there remains a lot of debate as to its answer. However, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has identified two key priority areas that we must address if we are to set the nation’s course toward ending youth homelessness.

One: We must gather more accurate information on the number of young people who experience homelessness each year. To solve a problem you must know its scope, and right now, in spite of efforts by organization across the country during the last Point-In-Time to get a youth-inclusive count, we still don’t know how many homeless youth are out there.

We do know that about half of the homeless young people counted were unsheltered. That means that in communities across the country, unaccompanied homeless youth were spending the night in places unfit for human habitation: street corners, parks, subway stations, or in abandoned buildings.

Two: We must improve our understanding of how youth become homeless, and how we can help them escape homelessness. Understanding these factors will help us develop a homeless service system that will be more responsive to their needs.

Obviously, one of the first and most important things that youth who are homeless need is a safe place to sleep.  Unfortunately, we are far from being able to provide this for all homeless youth, and we need to do more, a lot more. But that’s not all homeless youth need. So, beyond this, what should we be providing to homeless youth?

USICH and their federal partners are seeking to build our capacity to intervene with youth by identifying evidence-based models of what works. And they have already identified several key outcomes that should be the focus of interventions for homeless youth: stable housing, employment/education, wellbeing and permanent connections to caring adults.

So, how do we get there?  What do we actually do to achieve those outcomes for youth? What evidence actually exists for approaches to serve youth?

In a March webinar, which is embedded below, experts from USICH cover these questions and also highlight initiatives in Los Angeles, Waco, New York City, and Denver to reduce the number of youth who are experiencing homelessness. Check it out.

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The National Alliance to End Homelessness published the following two articles in its November 2013 issue of Alliance Online News. The Alliance is a nonpartisan, non profit organization dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness and preventing its continued growth.

Education Department Releases Numbers on Homeless Youth
Over the 2011-2012 school year, 1.166 million school age children and youth experienced homelessness as defined by the Department of Education (ED), according to a new report. The ED definition is broader than the definition used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Alliance. The ED definition includes children defined as homeless by HUD: children who are unsheltered, living in emergency shelters, or living in transitional housing programs. The ED definition includes these children in addition to children living in doubled-up arrangements due to economic challenges, and children who are living in motels paid for by their parents.

The report found that the vast majority of the children, 880,000, are doubled up. Another 287,000 reside in emergency shelter or transitional housing programs, motels, or are without shelter altogether. While this report focused on school-age children, homeless school liaisons typically report working with 30,000 preschool children and 15,000 children under the age of 2 who also experience homeless as defined by ED over a school year.

Read the report

A Q&A on Youth Homelessness
By Alliance Staff
November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. In this post, Alliance experts on youth homelessness answer some important questions about the issue, including: “How many homeless youth are there?”; “How does homelessness affect youth?”; and, “What makes it hard for communities to count homeless youth?”

Click here to read the Q&A list.

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From the Urban Institute: Youth Count! Process Study
Homelessness among unaccompanied youth is a hidden problem: the number of young people who experience homelessness each year is largely unknown. To improve the national response to youth homelessness, policymakers need better data on the magnitude of the problem. Youth Count! is a Federal interagency initiative that aims to improve counts of unaccompanied homeless youth. Nine communities participated in the initiative by expanding their annual homeless point-in-time efforts to increase coverage of homeless youth. Urban Institute conducted a process study of the initiative to identify promising practices that could be adapted and taken to scale to produce credible and useful data nationwide.

Click here to read the report.
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Why We Count: Homeless Youth in America
Counting homeless youth matters. The Urban Institute recently published a video explaining why. Click here to see it!
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July 2013: The National Alliance to End Homelessness Releases Federal Policy Update
FY 2014 Appropriations: Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. Click here to access this document.
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U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Releases Additional Information on Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness

Today, as hundreds of advocates and service providers for youth experiencing
homelessness gather in Seattle, WA for the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, USICH releases the USICH Framework to End Youth Homelessness: A Resource Text for Dialogue and Action (youth framework). As participants in this conference learn from and connect with one another on the best strategies and programs to end youth homelessness, we at USICH hope to ground the discussion with this important document for providers across the country. This federal framework for tackling the problem of youth homelessness sets forth the vision for how we should proceed in this important work, building off of the 2012 Amendment to Opening Doors.

Go to the USICH Framework to End Youth Homelessness

When Opening Doors was launched it set the ambitious goal to prevent and end youth homelessness by 2020, a goal that was strengthened with clearer strategies outlined in the 2012 Amendment to Opening Doors. The Amendment outlined that in order to meet this goal, we must gain a better understanding of the nature and extent of youth homelessness and build our homeless services system to better meet the needs of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. Introduced to the Council in June 2012 and available today to the public in greater detail, the youth framework sets a path for states, communities, and public and private stakeholders to work together on a strategic approach to getting to better youth outcomes in stable housing, permanent connections, education/employment, and well being.

The youth framework outlines strategies to improve our understanding of youth homelessness by getting better data and building the capacity of programs to effectively serve youth experiencing homelessness. The framework also includes a preliminary intervention model that looks at youth through the lens of risk and protective factors, focusing particularly on high-risk populations such as youth involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, LGBTQ youth, and pregnant and parenting youth. Ultimately, ending youth homelessness requires a collaborative, systemic approach-federally and locally-that includes targeted homeless assistance and mainstream systems. This framework is a positive step forward in our collaborative work to understand the scope and interventions necessary to end youth homelessness. USICH and our federal partners hope that this document continues the rich dialogue about what we all must do to meet the needs of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness.

Read the youth framework

California Releases Plan to End Youth Homelessness

The following excerpt can be found in the Jan. 22 issue of the The National Alliance to End Homelessness newsletter. To access the newsletter, please click here.

On Tuesday, January 8, CA Research Bureau released, “More Than a Roof: How California Can End Youth Homelessness,” a statewide action plan to address youth homelessness. Championed by State Senator Carol Lui and developed by the CA Homeless Youth Project with input from a number of service providers, public agencies, philanthropic groups, and elected officials, the plan identifies ten subject areas, including prevention, education, employment, supportive services, and also sets specific goals and action steps that should be taken to end youth homelessness.

Click here to read the plan.

New Framework for Ending Youth Homelessness

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has released the 2012 Amendment to Opening Doors, the comprehensive federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, that specifically addresses strategies for improving the educational outcomes for children and youth, and the steps that need to be taken to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. The Amendment includes a new framework that calls on agencies and systems to work together for better youth outcomes in stable housing, permanent connections, education and employment, and well-being. To access the framework in PDF format, please click here.

College Scholarships for Homeless and At-Risk Students

Give Us Your Poor is proud to partner with the Horatio Alger Association in offering college scholarships to homeless, formerly homeless, and at-risk students. The Association provides approximately 1,000 scholarships each year to eligible students who have overcome adversity in their lives. For the third year in a row, in partnership with Give Us Your Poor, the Association is reaching out directly to students who have experienced homelessness.
Scholarships range from $2,500 to $20,000.
To be eligible to apply, students must meet the following criteria:
• Enrollment full-time as a high school senior, progressing normally toward graduation in the Spring/Summer 2013, with plans to enter college no later than the fall following graduation;
• A strong commitment to pursuing and completing a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution located in the United States (students may start their studies at a two-year institution and then transfer to a four-year institution. Idaho, Louisiana, and Montana state scholarship recipients must pursue and complete a degree at specific colleges and universities. Please see the individual program description for those requirements);
• Critical financial need ($50,000 or less adjusted gross income per family is preferred, if higher explanation must be provided);
• Involvement in co-curricular and community activities;
• Demonstrated integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity;
• A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0; and
• United States citizenship.
For more information on this scholarship or to apply, please visit https://www.horatioalger.org/scholarships/index.cfm. For frequently asked questions, visit https://www.horatioalger.org/scholarships/faqs.cfm. If you still have questions about the scholarship application process after reviewing the information on this webpage, please call (866) 763-9228 or email john.mcgah@familyhomelessness.org. The deadline for applications is midnight on October 25, 2012.

The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) published a report about American students who are homeless.  The report can be found in June’s edition of the Children’s Monitor, and you can also read it below.

Over One Million U.S. Students Are Homeless
Posted on June 29, 2012 by SuzanneCWLA

The Department of Education (ED) has just released the annual report on their “Education for Homeless Children and Y ouths Program.” Required under the McKinney -Vento Homeless Assistance Act to ensure children who are homeless have equal access to public education, the report reveals that 1,065,794 children enrolled in school are homeless. Up 13% from the 2009/10 school y ear and surpassing the million mark for the first time, it’s estimated that this official number is half of the actual incidence of child homelessness due to difficulties in accurately counting the transient population.

Further details from the report find that students experiencing homelessness are most often living “doubled-up” in the homes of friends or family and that this nighttime residence experience has increased 27 % in the past three y ears. Of the million plus countable students experiencing homelessness, 883,816 of them were reported as being served through McKinney -Vento funds, an increase of 4% from last year and 43% over the past three y ears. Still and unsurprisingly, considering the instability they endure, these students are struggling academically with just over half proficient in reading and just over half proficient math standards. Children experiencing homelessness face many of the same challenges to educational success as children in foster care.

Furthermore, the instability of homelessness is also a risk factor for child welfare involvement. While homelessness alone is not child maltreatment, it is a serious family strain and referenced in about half of state’s maltreatment definitions. Housing resources like the Family Unification Program and upcoming supportive housing grants are critical intervention measures for struggling families and prevention of child welfare involvement.

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The following updates can be found on the June 18 issue of Ending Youth Homelessness, a newsletter by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Working group headed by ACYF Commissioner Unveils Framework to Reach 2020 Youth Goal

On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services hosted the second Council meeting of the year, which focused on what federal agencies and policymakers know about youth homelessness and next steps in our work to end youth homelessness by 2020. USICH Chair and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was joined by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Director of the Corporation for National and Community Service Wendy Spencer, and representatives from 18 member agencies. The meeting, held as we near the second anniversary of Opening Doors, marked a new framework for how to approach the problem of youth homelessness in a more coordinated and effective way across different disciplines working with this population.

The Council received a presentation from the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at HHS, Bryan Samuels, on the proposed framework for ending youth homelessness. Since last September, youth homelessness policy experts at many of the agencies on the Council have come together to gather what is known about youth homelessness, its prevalence, and solutions. The group focused on necessary first steps of arriving at a confident estimate of the number of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. All Council members and stakeholders agreed that getting better data on this population is a critical action that must be done as soon as possible, and proposed actions such as encouraging a youth complement to the current HUD Point-in-Time count, utilizing Department of Education data, and integrating RHYMIS and HMIS data collection.

The framework includes a new, preliminary intervention model that builds on knowledge of effective, research-based interventions for each subgroup of youth. The intervention model presents a way to consider an individual youth’s risk and protective factors to tailor interventions expressly aimed at influencing core outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness (stable housing, permanent connections, social-emotional well-being, education and employment). The premise of the model is that interventions that reduce risk factors and increase protective factors will lead to these improved outcomes.

Using this framework as a guide, stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels can begin to work collaboratively with all agencies and programs that serve youth experiencing homelessness to make meaningful and measureable improvements in core outcomes for youth. Ultimately, ending youth homelessness requires a collaborative, systematic approach-federally and locally-that includes targeted homelessness assistance and mainstream systems. This framework is an extremely positive step forward in our collaborative work to understand the scope and interventions necessary to end youth homelessness by 2020. The Administration is showing that collaborative leadership can help communities make strategic advancements toward this goal, and supported the implementation of the youth framework moving forward.

The Council also invited three thought leaders in the area of youth homelessness who presented their feedback on the framework and recommendations for necessary first steps forward for both federal agencies and local organizations (see below).

Read USICH’s reflection on the Council meeting, including discussion points from the experts

Two Years After Opening Doors, Stronger Focus on Ending Youth Homelessness

On the second anniversary of Opening Doors, we look back on the progress we’ve made and look forward to what must be done in the coming months and years. In Opening Doors, the Council set its sights on ending youth homelessness by 2020, a goal that had never been set before.

As momentum built across the country toward ending chronic homelessness, Veterans homelessness, and family homelessness, the same momentum was not occurring around youth homelessness. As a result, federal partners have not only restated their commitment to this population and this goal, but have developed specific next steps. The Commissioner of HHS’ Administration on Children, Youth, and Families Bryan Samuels presented this information at the Council meeting on June 12. Read a blog from Deputy Director Jennifer Ho on these new steps and how communities are key players in this work.

Read Jennifer Ho’s blog

Experts React and Endorse Action on the New Youth Framework

As part of the June 2012 Council meeting on youth homelessness, USICH sought input from leaders in the field: CEO of Lighthouse Youth Services Bob Mecum, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness Nan Roman, and State Coordinator for the McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth program at the Colorado Department of Education and the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Dana Scott.

Each leader submitted a brief to USICH summarizing his or her expertise on youth homelessness and recommended actions the country and the Council should take to help achieve the goal ending youth homelessness by 2020.

Read a summary of this work and each brief

Department of Education Releases Guidance for Title I Preschool Programs & Children Experiencing Homelessness

USICH is working on an amendment to Opening Doors that focuses on both youth homelessness and in improving educational outcomes for youth. One of the ways to improve education outcomes is to ensure access to Department of Education-funded preschool programs. Preschool programs in local education agencies (LEAs) using Title I funding are critical resources for young children experiencing homelessness. Early childhood education for those with high needs can help ensure that children have a solid foundation before they enter kindergarten.

Although children experiencing homelessness are automatically eligible for placement in these programs, often waiting lists make it difficult for these families to get the necessary resources. The Department of Education shares some guidance on how to overcome this challenge, utilizing homeless liaisons and modifying program administration for this vulnerable population.

Read the full guidance