Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded 10 communities a total of $33 million through the first Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) grants.
The communities may use funding for rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing and transitional housing, and to fund programs that support homeless youth. As a requirement, the cities must work with their youth advisory boards, child welfare agencies and other community partners to create a comprehensive community plan to end youth homelessness and submit their plans to HUD within six months before funding is released.
According to HUD, the first year of the program requires benchmarking measurements to account for things like the number of homeless youth in the communities, and to determine program performance. HUD will be working with the demonstration communities to develop performance metrics for youth homelessness funding.
HUD supports youth-focused performance measurements and coordinated entry systems, which means that when a youth presents itself to a community’s homelessness services, there is a coordinated way to triage and assess their assistance needs. There is funding to help establish these systems and to track needs specific to homeless youth.
We want to understand what works and what doesn’t work for young people,” said Ann Oliva, HUD’s deputy assistant secretary for special needs programs.
In reviewing grant YHDP applications — more than 130 — HUD enlisted a panel of 11 people that had lived experience of homelessness before they turned 24. Some on them had also previously participated in HUD focus groups and listening sessions on youth homelessness, Oliva told EfficientGov.
The city of Austin and Travis County, Texas, received $5.2 million. Approximately 758 youth experienced homelessness from January to October 2016, according to the Austin Chronicle. The organizations Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and LifeWorks applied for the grant as the lead agency for the county’s Continuum of Care. In the application, they said:
Collaborating agencies have been forced to ask each other hard questions, reassess and streamline housing operations, share resources and address systematic challenges.”
The 10 2016 YHDP recipients are:
- Anchorage, Ala.,
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Watsonville/Santa Cruz , Calif.
- Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
- Kentucky Housing Corporation
- Grand Traverse/Antrim/Leelanau counties, Mich.
- Cincinnati/Hamilton County, Ohio
- Austin/Travis County, Texas
- Seattle/King County, Wash.
Along with other 2017 HUD grants, continued funding for YHDP will depend on the budget.