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Across the country, local, state, and national initiatives are working to end youth homelessness, and many are recognizing the essential role of law enforcement and juvenile justice agencies in these efforts.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) can support these efforts through dedicated funding and targeted technical assistance. HUD will select 10 communities, 4 of which will be rural, for awards between $1 million and $15 million.
The primary goals of the YHDP are:
- Support communities to be intentional in the planning and implementation of coordinated efforts to end homelessness for youth and to include all the critical sectors, particularly the youth-serving systems like child welfare, juvenile justice and schools.
- To expand communities’ array of low-barrier housing and service options for youth experiencing homelessness, and to encourage innovation to make those models work better for youth.
- To understand the similarities and differences in how successful systems to reduce youth homelessness look in urban, suburban and rural settings.
Juvenile justice and city leaders at the table:
The Notice of Funding Announcement emphasizes collaboration and encourages communities to bring together all the key stakeholders before submitting an application for YHDP. Continuum of Care collaborative agencies interested in applying for YHDP should be sure to include city elected leaders and juvenile justice agencies in application conversations before the deadline of November 30th.
City leaders and juvenile justice agencies can also reach out directly to the local CoC agency to start a conversation about the YHDP grant. Even if an collaborative does not apply or is not successful for the YHDP, these conversations can strengthen local collaboration to end youth homelessness.
To learn more about ending youth homelessness, please visit:
- Collaborating for Change (an initiative of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and National Network for Youth)
- Youth Homelessness and Juvenile Justice: Opportunities for Collaboration and Impact (Issue brief)
- HUD’s Youth Homelessness website and Resources for Homeless Youth Service Providers
- National Network for Youth’s What Works to End Youth Homelessness and other resources
- A Way Home America a national initiative to end youth homelessness
- Opening Doors: Ending Youth Homelessness: https://www.usich.gov/goals/youth
- USICH guidance on a coordinated community response to youth homelessness: https://www.usich.gov/tools-for-action/coordinated-community-response-to-youth-homelessness
- USICH webinar on strategies for success for responding to HUD's YHDP NOFA: https://www.usich.gov/tools-for-action/webinar-strategies-for-success-for-responding-to-huds-youth-homelessness-demonstration-program-nofa
Laura E. Furr is the program manager for justice reform and youth engagement in NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. Follow Laura on Twitter at @laura_furr or reach her by e-mail at [email protected]. Lisa Pilnik is a Senior Advisor to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice where she leads CJJ’s homelessness work, and is Director of Child and Family Policy Associates, a small consulting firm. Follow Lisa on Twitter at @lisapilnik or reach her by e-mail at [email protected].