National Dialogue: The State Of The Independent Living Industry

The state of the independent living industry of our youth leaving foster care is in shambles. We are in a state of emergency. Our nation is failing it’s adult youth who have left foster care and now homeless. The states who were their legal guardian have abandoned them. At a time in their life when we should have treated them as our own.

This must end now. Whatever the cause of our functional neglect of these kids, it is long past time to get over it. To get over the obsession of counting homeless youth who refuse to be counted because of the stigma associated with being homeless. To our uncontrolled desire to help every single person who is homeless who may not be in a situation where they are willing to be helped.

To our national legislation that one can leave a newborn baby at fire station and face no criminal penalties. But one can leave young puppies in a car and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We are delusion. Priorities misplaced. Especially when it comes to our young adults who have left foster care.

We cannot allow yet another decade to go by, or another generation of our youth be lost to the streets.

Once homeless, adult youth who have left foster care face a myriad of risks, including suicide, violence, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, prostitution and substance abuse/dependence. Again, at a time when the adults who needed them the most, failed to uphold their responsibilities as the adults in their lives.

Adult homeless youth who have left foster care must become the dominating priority in our nation’s independent living industry. We have waited for decades for our governments, our states, our counties and our local communities to gain the intestinal fortitude and call for change.

This ends now.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Our nation is in dire crisis. And we are in denial. We are delusional. We are losing our young adults to the streets and emergency measures must be enacted in order to install order in our independent living industry.

The proposal of a national independent living industry initiative that this government has purposely taken a deeply cynical stance that underestimates the American people’s desire for change is in order. With transformative leadership, most citizens, taxpayers and voters in our nation will support a dominant priority in our youth who have left foster care and are now homeless.

This national initiative involves the following coordinated steps to stop the bleeding of continuous young adults leaving foster care and become homeless.

  • Mandatory regulatory waivers for all states to release federal funding from the monitoring and control of the states. Our state administrators have proven that they are incapable of governing the billions of dollars of federal funding appropriated for youth leaving foster care. Federal funding will now be a direct life-line to our local communities, nonprofits and citizens who have proven with evidence-based research, that as a collective initiative, no adult youth leaving foster care will be without a permanent home.

Non-compliance with the mandated regulatory waivers will subject states  to fines and penalties equal to or greater than the cost that would have created a permanent home for those young adults who were under their care. Those funds will be immediately deducted from their budgets and disbursed within 10 days directly to those adult youths to ensure a permanent home is secured within 30 days.

  • Mandatory contract compliance with those accepting federal funding with agency and organizational activities  targeted primarily to the best and brightest young adults who have left foster care between the ages of 18-26. Our young adults need the mentoring and support of those who have succeeding in navigating the independent living industry. Without their support, those foster care youth coming behind them have no clear pathway to success. To ignore the focus on this targeted population of inspired, determined and demonstrably successful young adults, who only need a helping hand, is irresponsible when it comes to enacting effective change in our nation.

Non-compliance with the mandated contract compliance will subject agencies and organizations to fines and penalties equal to or greater than the cost that would have created a permanent home for those young adults who were under their care, if not for their distracted efforts..Those funds will be immediately deducted from their budgets and disbursed within 10 days directly to those adult youth to ensure a permanent home is secured within 30 days.

  • Mandatory decreased tax breaks for the entire real estate development community who refuse to share in our national effort to end homeless for young adults who have left foster care. Our real estate community has served our citizens with amazing homes and condominiums for our nation. It is time that they contribute to our national crisis to ensure every young adult who has left foster care will have a permanent home. Developers must guarantee the delivery of the capital, resources and manpower within 10 days of contract offer with the assurance of breaking ground within 30 days.

Non-compliance with the mandated decreased tax breaks will subject states, counties and cities to fines and penalties equal to or greater than the cost that would have created a permanent home for those young adults who they built multi-million dollar communities and ignored the homeless adult youth around such cornerstones. Those tax breaks will be immediately deducted from the according agency’s budget and disbursed within 10 days directly to those adult youth to ensure a permanent home is secured within 30 days.

  • Mandatory prosecution of parents who abandon their minor children to live a life of homeless. It is an abomination that any parent will voluntarily remove their own children from their home because of their self-identified genders or sexual preferences. In this great nation of ours, it is called abandonment. And we must preserve the laws of this nation and protect our most vulnerable citizens. State attorney offices and law enforcement agencies will be directed to coordinate efforts to ensure these parents are detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Non-compliance with the mandated prosecution of parents who conduct themselves in such a despicable manner will subject the state attorney offices and law enforcement offices  to fines and penalties equal to or greater than the cost that would have created a permanent home for those young adults who they willfully abandoned them to life of homelessness. Those funds will be immediately deducted from the according agency’s budget and disbursed within 10 days directly to those adult youth to ensure a permanent home is secured within 30 days.

  • Mandatory legal avenues for young adults to hold responsible the government agencies and their legal custodians who assumed legal custody of their lives and failed to uphold those sacred responsibilities. Young adults who have left foster care were removed their legal custodians by the state for their failure to provide a safe and permanent living environment, in most, if not all occassions. In turn, our states followed in the same deplorable footsteps and performed just as badly. Young adults deserve a legal platform to recoup damages from our state governments. And their parents. Our judiciary communities, legal associations and court systems will coordinate these efforts with the highest priority.

Non-compliance with the mandated prosecution of parents who conduct themselves in such an atrocious manner will subject the state attorney, law enforcement and the judicial communities  to fines and penalties equal to or greater than the cost that would have created a permanent home for those young adults who they  allowed to easily be, willfully abandoned  to life of homelessness. Those funds will be immediately deducted from the according agency’s budget and disbursed within 10 days directly  to those adult youth to ensure a permanent home is secured in a timely manner.

This is in no way a broad and comprehensive approach to the national  emergency crisis in our nation. But we are at war. We are at war with our humanity as a nation. Unless we implement buckle-belting measures to slow down this inhumanity,  we will continue to be a nation that accepts children being abandoned by their parent. Their legal custodians. To in turn, be abandoned again by their state governments. Their counties. Their local communities. By us as a community.

This is unacceptable.

Pandering to this nation’s obsession with homeless veterans is to be commendable. It is a needed priority. But we are "in denial" about our responsibilities to try to ensure the most deserving young adults in our community have a permanent home. They were in our care and custody. And we failed them.

This is a country who has raised taxes on our citizens for a plethora of reasons. Bailed out billion-dollar corporations for their inept failures. Enjoyed the luxuries of daily life such as waking up and tying our shoes. All because we wake up to a safe place to sleep.

We are better than this. Our nation bloviates promises to defend the vulnerable across the globe. We take it upon ourselves to ensure global justice for civil rights for every human being.

This is time for America to make due on that promise. Not just to the international community. But to our own children. Especially for those who have left our care and are now homeless.


Join with us in this initiative to end homeless in 2 years for young adults who have left foster care. As a nation, we can get this done. It is not option. It is a priority.