Tampa (FL) Nonprofit's Youth Exiting Foster Care Project: 12.5 Acre Property Purchased To Expand Housing Options, Plans To Create Tiny Home Village For Housing & Supportive Services Onsite

“It’s not a group home, it IS home,” explained Cindy Tilley, the president and founder of Forgotten Angels.    https://www.ospreyobserver.com/2019/06/forgotten-angels-purchases-property-to-serve-teens-aging-out-of-foster-care/   Established in 2015, the nonprofit organization assists teens who have aged out of the foster care system. Tilley, who entered the foster care system in the fourth grade, personally understands the hardship and heartache of not having a home.  Recently, Forgotten Angels purchased 12 and a half acres off Little Stearns Rd. and is renovating the property to house and support these teens. From basic needs such as food and shelter to fulfilling high school education requirements and beyond, the organization comes alongside extended foster care teens from ages 18-21. Typically, these teens have spent most of their lives hopping from house to house with no family to call their own.  “Our goal is to get these teens out of survival mode and have them actually thrive,” said Tilley. “These teens are not getting the education or the life skills they need to get out there and succeed.”  She continued, “Many of the extended foster care group homes are located in rough areas, and these teens have no guidance. How can we expect them not to get into trouble? I lived this life and I know all about the dangers that are out there.”  Quinton Aaron, the actor who portrayed Big Mike in the movie The Blind Side, recently teamed up with Forgotten Angels and serves as the Ambassador of Goodwill for the organization. Aaron’s friend, David Tyler, who is the executive director for The Quinton Aaron Foundation, has also taken on the executive director role for Forgotten Angels.  With the help of the Quinton Aaron Foundation, local businesses, churches and other nonprofits, Forgotten Angels has been fixing up the dwellings on the property and have plans to build tiny homes.  Currently, six extended foster care teens reside on the property, and Tilley and Tyler are ensuring that these young adults are loved and cared for.  To find out how you can help, email forgottenangelsfl@outlook.com or call 728-0461. For more information or to view a video of the property, visit http://forgottenangelsflorida.org.

“It’s not a group home, it IS home,” explained Cindy Tilley, the president and founder of Forgotten Angels.

https://www.ospreyobserver.com/2019/06/forgotten-angels-purchases-property-to-serve-teens-aging-out-of-foster-care/

Established in 2015, the nonprofit organization assists teens who have aged out of the foster care system. Tilley, who entered the foster care system in the fourth grade, personally understands the hardship and heartache of not having a home.

Recently, Forgotten Angels purchased 12 and a half acres off Little Stearns Rd. and is renovating the property to house and support these teens. From basic needs such as food and shelter to fulfilling high school education requirements and beyond, the organization comes alongside extended foster care teens from ages 18-21. Typically, these teens have spent most of their lives hopping from house to house with no family to call their own.

“Our goal is to get these teens out of survival mode and have them actually thrive,” said Tilley. “These teens are not getting the education or the life skills they need to get out there and succeed.”

She continued, “Many of the extended foster care group homes are located in rough areas, and these teens have no guidance. How can we expect them not to get into trouble? I lived this life and I know all about the dangers that are out there.”

Quinton Aaron, the actor who portrayed Big Mike in the movie The Blind Side, recently teamed up with Forgotten Angels and serves as the Ambassador of Goodwill for the organization. Aaron’s friend, David Tyler, who is the executive director for The Quinton Aaron Foundation, has also taken on the executive director role for Forgotten Angels.

With the help of the Quinton Aaron Foundation, local businesses, churches and other nonprofits, Forgotten Angels has been fixing up the dwellings on the property and have plans to build tiny homes.

Currently, six extended foster care teens reside on the property, and Tilley and Tyler are ensuring that these young adults are loved and cared for.

To find out how you can help, email forgottenangelsfl@outlook.com or call 728-0461. For more information or to view a video of the property, visit http://forgottenangelsflorida.org.

Sacramento Nonprofit's Foster Care Youth Project: Creates 24/7 Emergency Response For Foster Youth In Crisis With Licensed Professionals, 68% Increase In Permanency Rates For Youth In Care Over 2 Yrs

Right along Sutterville Road in Sacramento lives one of the more critical resources for Sacramento County’s foster youth and families. Sitting inside the Sacramento Children’s Home is The Source, a new — and free — program that aims to keep kids from moving from one foster home to another and eventually end up in the juvenile justice system.   https://www.abc10.com/article/news/for-the-1730-sacramento-youth-in-foster-care-resources-like-this-one-helps-keep-them-from-bouncing-from-home-to-home/103-634c4148-14b9-460a-8164-30fef398508d   The program, named “The Source,” is an 24 hours a day, seven days a week emergency response for foster youth, resource families and former foster youth in Sacramento County during times of crisis and struggle. David Baker, the CEO of the Sacramento Children’s Home, says the program caters to keeping the more than 1,700 foster youth in the homes in which they are placed without moving from family to family.  “We want to make sure they’re successful right at the foster home they’re at, and they don’t have to move around,” Baker said.  Here’s what The Source does: Any foster youth or resource family that needs crisis support can call or text 916-SUPPORT. They can even reach out via live chat or social media. Operators will connect them with a licensed professional at the very moment, in effort to stabilize whatever situation is happening.  And programs like these — ones that focus improvement efforts on the placement stability rate — work, Michelle Callejas, the director of the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services, explained to ABC10 in an email. (Placement stability is a performance measurement used to measure the rate at which foster kids are placed into new homes.)  According to a study conducted at the University of Minnesota, youth in group homes are 2.5 times more likely to get placed in the justice system than youth placed with foster families. Additionally, research shows frequent placement changes increase the chances of incarceration.  A recent study by the Constitution Project showed that more than 90% of youth in foster care with five or more moves will enter the juvenile justice system. Another study done at the University of Chicago’s Center for Children found that by age 17, over half of foster youth experienced an arrest, conviction, or spent at least a night in a correctional facility.  According to data provided to ABC10 by Callejas, at least 1,730 children are in foster care in Sacramento County. From January to May 2019, 96 of those children received seven-day notices to be put into different foster care homes — a rate that is 1.77 higher than the 4.1 national standard.  Because of these programs, the county has seen a 28.5% reduction in the number of children in foster care since October of 2014, Callejas said. It has also seen a 29% reduction in the number of monthly entries of children into foster care and a 27% reduction of reentries into foster care.  But, most importantly, Callejas said, CPS has experienced a 68% increase in the number of children who achieve permanency (reunification, adoption, guardianship) after being in care for longer than two years.  “This really helps address the behaviors and stabilize, because these are all great kids, but they’ve experienced trauma,” Callejas said.  A list of all the services The Source provides, head to the Sacramento Children's Home website.

Right along Sutterville Road in Sacramento lives one of the more critical resources for Sacramento County’s foster youth and families. Sitting inside the Sacramento Children’s Home is The Source, a new — and free — program that aims to keep kids from moving from one foster home to another and eventually end up in the juvenile justice system.

https://www.abc10.com/article/news/for-the-1730-sacramento-youth-in-foster-care-resources-like-this-one-helps-keep-them-from-bouncing-from-home-to-home/103-634c4148-14b9-460a-8164-30fef398508d

The program, named “The Source,” is an 24 hours a day, seven days a week emergency response for foster youth, resource families and former foster youth in Sacramento County during times of crisis and struggle. David Baker, the CEO of the Sacramento Children’s Home, says the program caters to keeping the more than 1,700 foster youth in the homes in which they are placed without moving from family to family.

“We want to make sure they’re successful right at the foster home they’re at, and they don’t have to move around,” Baker said.

Here’s what The Source does: Any foster youth or resource family that needs crisis support can call or text 916-SUPPORT. They can even reach out via live chat or social media. Operators will connect them with a licensed professional at the very moment, in effort to stabilize whatever situation is happening.

And programs like these — ones that focus improvement efforts on the placement stability rate — work, Michelle Callejas, the director of the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services, explained to ABC10 in an email. (Placement stability is a performance measurement used to measure the rate at which foster kids are placed into new homes.)

According to a study conducted at the University of Minnesota, youth in group homes are 2.5 times more likely to get placed in the justice system than youth placed with foster families. Additionally, research shows frequent placement changes increase the chances of incarceration.

A recent study by the Constitution Project showed that more than 90% of youth in foster care with five or more moves will enter the juvenile justice system. Another study done at the University of Chicago’s Center for Children found that by age 17, over half of foster youth experienced an arrest, conviction, or spent at least a night in a correctional facility.

According to data provided to ABC10 by Callejas, at least 1,730 children are in foster care in Sacramento County. From January to May 2019, 96 of those children received seven-day notices to be put into different foster care homes — a rate that is 1.77 higher than the 4.1 national standard.

Because of these programs, the county has seen a 28.5% reduction in the number of children in foster care since October of 2014, Callejas said. It has also seen a 29% reduction in the number of monthly entries of children into foster care and a 27% reduction of reentries into foster care.

But, most importantly, Callejas said, CPS has experienced a 68% increase in the number of children who achieve permanency (reunification, adoption, guardianship) after being in care for longer than two years.

“This really helps address the behaviors and stabilize, because these are all great kids, but they’ve experienced trauma,” Callejas said.

A list of all the services The Source provides, head to the Sacramento Children's Home website.

Canada's Bold Youth Homelessness Project: $3.2 Million Federal Investment For Housing Young Adults & Parenting Youth, Creating 39 Affordable Units, Part Of $55 Billion 10-Yr Housing Plan

Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. That is why, in May 2018, the Government launched the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), the largest program of its kind in Canadian history.   https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/19/07/n14026601/government-of-canada-invests-in-supportive-housing-for-homeless-and-at-risk-youth-in-ottawa   Today in Ottawa, the Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), announced a $3.12 million financial commitment from the federal government for the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa's 2887 Riverside Drive project.  Thanks to this commitment by the NHCF, a pillar initiative of the National Housing Strategy (NHS), and to the investments of other partners, including the City of Ottawa, this project will build 39 new homes for homeless and at-risk youth.  Founded in 1960, the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB) is one of the largest and most comprehensive non‑profit agencies serving youth in Ottawa. More than 350 caring professionals work from 20 locations across the city to deliver a vast range of programs and services that support at‑risk youth and their families.  Quotes  "The National Housing Strategy has an ambitious goal of reducing chronic homelessness in Canada by at least 50 per cent. This terrific project in Ottawa is another concrete step in the right direction. I am proud to be part of a government that works collaboratively with our partners to enable all Canadians to build a better life for themselves and their communities." – The Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South  "The City of Ottawa is committed to providing safe and affordable housing for all its residents and ending chronic homelessness as set out in our 10-Year Housing and Homeless Plan. I'd like to thank the Government of Canada for their leadership and financial commitment to Youth Services Bureau's project. This new South-end development will help young people and young families settle into a stable and safe place they can call home." – Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa  "We know that youth homelessness is complex and, without intervention, can lead to lifelong homelessness. This building represents so much more than a safe home, it will also offer youth programs and services to help them prepare for an independent adulthood. Thank you to all of our partners who continue to help us as we work towards reaching our fundraising goal." – Joanne Lowe, Executive Director, Youth Services Bureau  Quick Facts  All of the 2887 Riverside Drive units will have affordable rents  The new building aims to achieve energy savings of 34.60% and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 43.20% compared to the National Energy Code for Buildings 2015.  The self-contained units are tailored to the needs of both single youth and young families, including single-parent families with young children, particularly single mothers. 33 of the 39 units are studio units and the remaining six are two-bedroom units capable of housing small families.  The Government of Canada is currently rolling out its National Housing Strategy (NHS), an ambitious 10-year, $55 billion plan that will create 100,000 new housing units and lift 530,000 families out of housing need, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 percent.  With a budget of $13.2 billion, NHCF gives priority to projects that help those in greatest need, including women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addictions, Veterans and young adults.  Through the NHCF, the Government of Canada will work with partners to build up to 60,000 new affordable homes and repair up to 240,000 existing affordable and community homes over the next 10 years.  Investments are also planned in the NHCF to create or repair at least 4,000 shelter spaces for victims of family violence and create at least 7,000 new affordable housing units for seniors and 2,400 new affordable housing units for people with developmental disabilities.  Under the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada's rural and northern communities.  As Canada's authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC's aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, please visit cmhc.ca or follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.  To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca.

Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. That is why, in May 2018, the Government launched the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), the largest program of its kind in Canadian history.

https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/19/07/n14026601/government-of-canada-invests-in-supportive-housing-for-homeless-and-at-risk-youth-in-ottawa

Today in Ottawa, the Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), announced a $3.12 million financial commitment from the federal government for the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa's 2887 Riverside Drive project.

Thanks to this commitment by the NHCF, a pillar initiative of the National Housing Strategy (NHS), and to the investments of other partners, including the City of Ottawa, this project will build 39 new homes for homeless and at-risk youth.

Founded in 1960, the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB) is one of the largest and most comprehensive non‑profit agencies serving youth in Ottawa. More than 350 caring professionals work from 20 locations across the city to deliver a vast range of programs and services that support at‑risk youth and their families.

Quotes

"The National Housing Strategy has an ambitious goal of reducing chronic homelessness in Canada by at least 50 per cent. This terrific project in Ottawa is another concrete step in the right direction. I am proud to be part of a government that works collaboratively with our partners to enable all Canadians to build a better life for themselves and their communities." – The Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South

"The City of Ottawa is committed to providing safe and affordable housing for all its residents and ending chronic homelessness as set out in our 10-Year Housing and Homeless Plan. I'd like to thank the Government of Canada for their leadership and financial commitment to Youth Services Bureau's project. This new South-end development will help young people and young families settle into a stable and safe place they can call home." – Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa

"We know that youth homelessness is complex and, without intervention, can lead to lifelong homelessness. This building represents so much more than a safe home, it will also offer youth programs and services to help them prepare for an independent adulthood. Thank you to all of our partners who continue to help us as we work towards reaching our fundraising goal." – Joanne Lowe, Executive Director, Youth Services Bureau

Quick Facts

All of the 2887 Riverside Drive units will have affordable rents

The new building aims to achieve energy savings of 34.60% and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 43.20% compared to the National Energy Code for Buildings 2015.

The self-contained units are tailored to the needs of both single youth and young families, including single-parent families with young children, particularly single mothers. 33 of the 39 units are studio units and the remaining six are two-bedroom units capable of housing small families.

The Government of Canada is currently rolling out its National Housing Strategy (NHS), an ambitious 10-year, $55 billion plan that will create 100,000 new housing units and lift 530,000 families out of housing need, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 percent.

With a budget of $13.2 billion, NHCF gives priority to projects that help those in greatest need, including women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addictions, Veterans and young adults.

Through the NHCF, the Government of Canada will work with partners to build up to 60,000 new affordable homes and repair up to 240,000 existing affordable and community homes over the next 10 years.

Investments are also planned in the NHCF to create or repair at least 4,000 shelter spaces for victims of family violence and create at least 7,000 new affordable housing units for seniors and 2,400 new affordable housing units for people with developmental disabilities.

Under the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada's rural and northern communities.

As Canada's authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC's aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, please visit cmhc.ca or follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca.

Michigan's Homeless Youth 100-Day Challenge: Along With 4 Other Communities, Goal To House 64 Youth In 100 Days, Group Has Housed 16 Youth In First 50 Days, Normally House 20 Per Year

Local organizations and community partners are working together to try and end homelessness for 64 youth in Wexford, Missaukee and Manistee counties.   https://www.cadillacnews.com/news/wexford-missaukee-work-to-end-homelessness-for-youth/article_6dcb81d7-edb2-5169-9c04-10baca653240.html   Cynthia Arneson, executive director of Staircase Youth Services, an outreach organization that provides youth and family intervention services, said the counties were elected along with four other communities in the nation to do a 100-day challenge to end youth homelessness.  “This challenge is about community members and agencies coming together to try to find better ways to service our youth who are facing homelessness,‘ Staircase employee Dakota Morris wrote in a statement to the Cadillac News.  The idea is that in 100 days, 64 unstably housed youth and young adults, ages 14 to 24, who are unaccompanied or head of household will be safe and stably housed.  Of the 64 youth, 45% will be identified through McKinney-Vento, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Community Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and 55% will be identified through the homeless crisis response team, Morris said.  The challenge is part of a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development project led by the Rapid Results Institute. When people have a time frame they are willing to drop other things and help come up with creative solutions, Arneson said.  On Wednesday, June 26, Staircase Youth Services, Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency and other community partners met for the 50-day mark of the challenge to discuss their progress.  The organizations had stably housed 16 youth and young adults, 12 of whom were from the crisis response team and four who were referred from community partners.  Usually Staircase Youth Services serves 20 youths in the three counties in a year, Arneson said.  At the meeting, the different organizations discussed what they were doing right and what they could improve on. They also set three new goals going forward:  1. Engage and empower community partners and get people to help identify people and subpopulations of people who need help getting housed.  2. Innovate and adapt existing housing sources for youth.  3. Make sure the procedures for housing people that are in place are equitable for youth and young adults.  Staircase Youth Services uses a host home model, but that might not be ideal for someone who is 21, 22, 23 years old, Arneson said.  So they are looking at shared housing and funding for youth and looking to recruit apartment complexes for housing them.  When it comes to being equitable, when people ask for help with homelessness there is a screening process for them. Some people who are older in their 40s or 50s might be housed before the youth because they’ve been homeless longer and might have more problems.  But if the organizations can get a youth out of homelessness when they are 19 or 20 then they can get them working on their goals and there will be a greater chance they are not homeless when they are in their 30s, she said.  As of January 2018, Michigan had an estimated 8,351 people experiencing homelessness on any given day. Of that total, 604 were unaccompanied young adults, ages 18-24, according to the Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Public school data reported to the U.S. Department of Education during the 2016-2017 school year shows that an estimated 39,092 public school students experienced homelessness over the course of the year.  Of that total, 611 students were unsheltered, 8,044 were in shelters, 2,514 were in hotels or motels, and 27,923 were “doubled up.‘  Arneson said that 48% of the homeless youth on the list that were referred were couch surfing and the average length of homelessness was 13 days once the agency was aware of them.  Couch surfing is if someone has no place to stay and all of their time and energy is spent trying to find the next place to spend the night. Naturally they are focusing on putting a roof over their head and not on things like education, she said.  It would be like a high schooler staying at a classmate’s house but then the parents saying they need to leave after a couple of days.  “So they don’t have a permanent home,‘ she said. “They’re always looking for someplace to lay their head at night.‘  Homeless youth are more likely to be couch surfing in this community than out on the literal streets for a couple of reasons. One is it’s too cold in the winter and the second is people in rural America are pretty hospitable and it’s not unusual to have three to four families in a two-bedroom home, Arneson said.  Technically they’re not homeless, but when there’s 12 people in a two-bedroom house “it’s just waiting for disaster in my mind,‘ she said.  Although it stops them from being on the street, it can be a fire hazard to have that many people in such small a space and it doesn’t provide a household where people can reach their goals, she said.  If youth ages 14 to 24 need help they can call Staircase Youth Services’ crisis line at 1-888-267-6086. People ages 18 to 24 can call the Northwest Community Action Agency’s homelessness hotline number, which is 844-900-0500.  If people want to get involved and help end youth homelessness they can volunteer to be host homes for the young people, Arneson said.  The agency likes to have three host homes in each county so when a youth calls them at 11 p.m. on a Friday night because they were kicked out of their home they can have somewhere to go, she said.  Host homes receive a stipend of $420 a month, $15 a night. Some youth need the support for 18 months but the average is around eight to 10 months. Short-term houses can also be available for the youth for two to three weeks, she said.  If people are interested in helping they can call Staircase Youth Services at (231) 843-3200 or Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency at (231) 775-9781.

Local organizations and community partners are working together to try and end homelessness for 64 youth in Wexford, Missaukee and Manistee counties.

https://www.cadillacnews.com/news/wexford-missaukee-work-to-end-homelessness-for-youth/article_6dcb81d7-edb2-5169-9c04-10baca653240.html

Cynthia Arneson, executive director of Staircase Youth Services, an outreach organization that provides youth and family intervention services, said the counties were elected along with four other communities in the nation to do a 100-day challenge to end youth homelessness.

“This challenge is about community members and agencies coming together to try to find better ways to service our youth who are facing homelessness,‘ Staircase employee Dakota Morris wrote in a statement to the Cadillac News.

The idea is that in 100 days, 64 unstably housed youth and young adults, ages 14 to 24, who are unaccompanied or head of household will be safe and stably housed.

Of the 64 youth, 45% will be identified through McKinney-Vento, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Community Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and 55% will be identified through the homeless crisis response team, Morris said.

The challenge is part of a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development project led by the Rapid Results Institute. When people have a time frame they are willing to drop other things and help come up with creative solutions, Arneson said.

On Wednesday, June 26, Staircase Youth Services, Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency and other community partners met for the 50-day mark of the challenge to discuss their progress.

The organizations had stably housed 16 youth and young adults, 12 of whom were from the crisis response team and four who were referred from community partners.

Usually Staircase Youth Services serves 20 youths in the three counties in a year, Arneson said.

At the meeting, the different organizations discussed what they were doing right and what they could improve on. They also set three new goals going forward:

1. Engage and empower community partners and get people to help identify people and subpopulations of people who need help getting housed.

2. Innovate and adapt existing housing sources for youth.

3. Make sure the procedures for housing people that are in place are equitable for youth and young adults.

Staircase Youth Services uses a host home model, but that might not be ideal for someone who is 21, 22, 23 years old, Arneson said.

So they are looking at shared housing and funding for youth and looking to recruit apartment complexes for housing them.

When it comes to being equitable, when people ask for help with homelessness there is a screening process for them. Some people who are older in their 40s or 50s might be housed before the youth because they’ve been homeless longer and might have more problems.

But if the organizations can get a youth out of homelessness when they are 19 or 20 then they can get them working on their goals and there will be a greater chance they are not homeless when they are in their 30s, she said.

As of January 2018, Michigan had an estimated 8,351 people experiencing homelessness on any given day. Of that total, 604 were unaccompanied young adults, ages 18-24, according to the Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Public school data reported to the U.S. Department of Education during the 2016-2017 school year shows that an estimated 39,092 public school students experienced homelessness over the course of the year.

Of that total, 611 students were unsheltered, 8,044 were in shelters, 2,514 were in hotels or motels, and 27,923 were “doubled up.‘

Arneson said that 48% of the homeless youth on the list that were referred were couch surfing and the average length of homelessness was 13 days once the agency was aware of them.

Couch surfing is if someone has no place to stay and all of their time and energy is spent trying to find the next place to spend the night. Naturally they are focusing on putting a roof over their head and not on things like education, she said.

It would be like a high schooler staying at a classmate’s house but then the parents saying they need to leave after a couple of days.

“So they don’t have a permanent home,‘ she said. “They’re always looking for someplace to lay their head at night.‘

Homeless youth are more likely to be couch surfing in this community than out on the literal streets for a couple of reasons. One is it’s too cold in the winter and the second is people in rural America are pretty hospitable and it’s not unusual to have three to four families in a two-bedroom home, Arneson said.

Technically they’re not homeless, but when there’s 12 people in a two-bedroom house “it’s just waiting for disaster in my mind,‘ she said.

Although it stops them from being on the street, it can be a fire hazard to have that many people in such small a space and it doesn’t provide a household where people can reach their goals, she said.

If youth ages 14 to 24 need help they can call Staircase Youth Services’ crisis line at 1-888-267-6086. People ages 18 to 24 can call the Northwest Community Action Agency’s homelessness hotline number, which is 844-900-0500.

If people want to get involved and help end youth homelessness they can volunteer to be host homes for the young people, Arneson said.

The agency likes to have three host homes in each county so when a youth calls them at 11 p.m. on a Friday night because they were kicked out of their home they can have somewhere to go, she said.

Host homes receive a stipend of $420 a month, $15 a night. Some youth need the support for 18 months but the average is around eight to 10 months. Short-term houses can also be available for the youth for two to three weeks, she said.

If people are interested in helping they can call Staircase Youth Services at (231) 843-3200 or Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency at (231) 775-9781.