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"We need better coordination on the international side, just as they need better and more effective efforts on the Somali side. We have too many reconstruction and development assistance plans." -- Jan Egeland

Ending youth homelessness is the current priority by 2020. Research and increasing capacity of services are the approach.

There are 4 main outcomes - stable housing, well-being, permanent connections and education/employment. Increasing service delivery for young adults leaving foster care is one of the main areas of prioriy.

Let's discuss the 3 separate programs to get a run down on the matter.

Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) - tenants can rent in the private market; making the process comfortable and smooth for the youth is the challenge; HUD not a party to the lease or contract; Public Housing Authorities (PHA) enters into lease with the landlord; Public Child Welfare Agencies (PCWA) enters into contract with the young adult.

Family Unification Programs (FUP) - under 22 and have been in foster care at the age of 16; limited to 18 months; referrals come from juvenile justice programs or a PCWA; up to 5 years, but can be extended up to an additional 2 years; lack of referrals from PCWAs but not due to housing needs; over 90% of those who were granted funds were first time participants in serving homeless youth; only 75% successfully graduate.

PHAs must have both HCV and FUP programs at this time; the limited time of the assistance to 18 months is not conducive to the normal 12 month lease; looking to change law to extend to 24 months; difficult to find landlords willing to rent if the assistance would end at the 6 month mark of the 2nd year lease; any PHA can participate in this demonstration and reach out to the child welfare directors in their area to participate.

Family Self-Sufficiency Programs (FSS) - additional funds for heads of households participating in HCV and FUPs; FSS creates a committee to administer funds and hires coordinators; required goal is to not be receiving welfare and build up an interest-bearing escrow account over the life of the contract that can be used at the graduation of the program; only entities that administer both HCV and FUPs can participate;

Now that we got that education out of the way. Let's get down to some actual facts.

Only 50% PHAs reserve vouchers for youth. But funding can now be used to pay for the these coordinator's salaries. No surprise there.

But there is good news.

An aged out young adult in Texas participated in FSS program recently. She graduated and built up an interest-bearing escrow of $3000. Used it on a down payment on a house.

You go girl.

But they leave out the statistic that only 42% of these graduates do not need future public cash assistance within a year. Pathetic.

So no really new information except:

Let's look at what is going on my own backyard. I researched what is going on in Central Florida (using the DCF regional model of its 11 counties):

Orlando Section 8/HCV program only - not eligible

Orange County Section 8/HCV program only - not eligible

Brevard - received $114,000

Ocala - received $42,000

Orlando - received $23,000

Other higher awarded entities in the area:

Tampa - $412,000

Ft. Pierce - $108,000

Winter Haven - $102,000

So when you look at it from the perspective of awarded amounts and size of city/county, there's absolutely no correlation between the two.

This tells me that these programs have no performance standards. Only eligibility requirements, complete applications, and however much you asked for, you got.

Still no coordination between entities with housing investment dollars and child welfare agencies. No surprise there.

It is not in a CWA's interest to house young adults outside of foster care. Defeats the purpose of passing laws to keep them in foster care until 21.

In the next few years, we'll probably see states talking about repealing these state laws. If the research evidence shows that these kind of coordinated efforts successfully get young adults to adulthood (housing, education, employment, support, connections, etc.), and the funding dollars are being aimed at such data, then repeal the stupid law and implement these plans at age 15.

Get the court order so the teen can sign the lease.

 Use a combination of CWA and PHA flexible funding dollars (not these, have to be 18) for 2 years, build up the same kind of escrows, and by the time the teen turns 18, they will have graduated successfully from both programs (this one and ILP).

This frees up additional voucher dollars for additional 18-21 year olds that would have been used by those teens at 18 years of age.

Now how hard is that.

Pathetic. The only hope are for young adults like the one in Texas.

Who takes advantage of the opportunity, puts up with all the barriers & controls, graduates from the program and slaps 3 grand down on a house.

The only hope.

Just keeping everyone in the loop so we are aware of what's happening on both the federal/state level. Will keep you posted on the other new homeless youth initiatives throughout the years.

"We need better coordination on the international side, just as they need better and more effective efforts on the Somali side. We have too many reconstruction and development assistance plans." -- Jan Egeland