Ending Youth Homelessness: Partnerships With Juvenile Detention Centers Gets It Done

Tacoma, WA getting it done for our young kids in juvenile detention centers. 


1,417 young offenders were eligible to be released to a parent or guardian in 2015.

Of those kids who committed minor offenses, 472 did not have a parent or guardian pick them up.

Guess where they go. Foster care.

And guess what happens to about 70% of our young people within 12 months who exit our foster care programs in this country.

End up in our homeless youth population.

Do I have specifics? Yes, I have specifics.

In a survey of 18-22 year olds in the state of Florida's Extended Foster Care program in May 2016, 248 young adults reported being homeless in the past 2 years.

Of those 248 young adults in extended foster care, 100% of them reported being homeless in the last year.

Time periods ranged from 1 to 5 or more times. Under state foster care programs.

All 248 of those young adults in foster care. Experiencing homelessness while under state foster care.

That's asinine. And a complete abomination. Such flagrant ineptitude.

Our juvenile detention centers are pipelines to foster care. Pipelines to criminal histories. 

Pipelines to youth without high school diplomas and GEDs. 

And then a pipeline to youth homelessness.

And eventually into our chronic adult individual and family homeless population.

How do you actually believe the majority of people become chronically homeless? Generation after generation.

We are never going to end homelessness in our communities until we first shut down the pipelines.

Fix the hole in tbe roof. Identify where the water is rushing in. And seal those openings.

Ensure no kid is discharged into foster care. No kid is discharged into homelessness after being released from a detention center facility.

No 17 year olds who could live on their own being put into foster care because of abuse, neglect or abandonment at home.

Arrest the parent or guardian if a crime was committed. Secure an apartment. Secure a child support order that can help cover the cost of monthly rent.

Partner with a local community college for early college enrollment. Early on or off campus housing.

Partner with a local church who owns property to build a 15-unit rapid rehousing apartment complex. Short stays for stabilization.

And quick exits into other permanent supportive housing options in the market.

In other words, get it together. Get it done.

Tacoma, WA getting it done for our young kids in juvenile detention centers.