Shawn Ingle knows what it’s like to be homeless as a teenager.
That’s why he has been working with two local nonprofit organizations to try to eliminate youth homelessness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
“I really don’t want any other homeless youth to be in my shoes,” Ingle said. “To be sleeping under a bridge or begging for food.”
For the past six months, Ingle and scores of other young adults, social workers and advocates have been coming up with new ideas to end youth homelessness here. Strategies to End Homelessness and Lighthouse Youth and Family Services are leading the work.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected Cincinnati and Hamilton County as one of 10 communities for its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. The goal is for the communities to come up with new and innovative ways to use federal money to eliminate youth homelessness.
Shawn Ingle speaks during a community meeting in May. Photo by Terry Helmer | WCPO
Strategies to End Homelessness got a $3.8 million grant for the research and planning and has partnered with Lighthouse to create a draft plan that they must submit to HUD by July 13.
“We’re going to see that there’s not one silver bullet to ending youth homelessness in any community,” said Meredith Hicks, planning and policy director for Lighthouse Youth and Family Services. “I think every community is going to have a slightly different plan.”
The work is critically important because of the high numbers of homeless youth in our region.