Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the names of 10 communities across the country, including four rural communities, designated under a groundbreaking new demonstration project that will invest unprecedented resources and funding to determine the most effective systems to end youth homelessness at the local level.
Anchorage, AK; San Francisco, CA; Watsonville, Santa Cruz City and County, CA; Connecticut; Kentucky (Rural); Grand Traverse, Antrim, Leelanau Counties, MI (Rural); Cincinnati/Hamilton County, Ohio; Ohio (Rural); Austin/Travis County, TX; and Seattle/King County, WA will work with HUD and their federal partners to help ensure that our national strategies are informed by a diverse range of tested solutions and systems from across the country, while receiving invaluable support for their work on the ground.
“This is a huge leap forward for America as we move past just a crisis response to youth homelessness to long-term solutions to end youth homelessness, which is why I was honored to testify in the Senate in support of the groundbreaking project. This effort is designed for and has been directly informed by youth, as our very own National Forum on Youth Homelessness (NYFH) was involved in the selection of the 10 communities and in determining key priorities for the project,” said Cyndi Lauper, co-founder of the True Colors Fund.
NYFH members worked with HUD to review and score applications from communities across the nation, and received formal training on the grant review process. NYFH, which the True Colors Fund facilitates with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, works with national leaders to ensure that our national conversation is informed by and filtered through the perspectives of young people who have experienced homelessness, and that strategies to end homelessness are generated by youth and young adults themselves.
The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program is a shining example of the collaborative and bipartisan work in Congress and the Federal Government to address key issues impacting the lives of our nation’s youth, with the ultimate goal of ending youth homelessness. With a focus on identifying, evaluating, and culling together best practices from different communities across the country, the demonstration will serve as a blueprint for communities, service providers, advocates, and policymakers alike. Today, we are one big step closer to determining the systems and solutions needed to not only end homelessness among youth, but prevent it from occurring in the first place.
“The True Colors Fund commends the leadership of HUD; Senators Susan Collins and Jack Reed; the members and staff of the Senate and House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittees; philanthropic leaders; our federal and movement partners; and the many others who made this effort happen. The demonstration project is a prime example of the collaborative and bipartisan work that is integral towards preventing and ending youth homelessness in America,” said Gregory Lewis, Executive Director & CEO of the True Colors Fund. “I would also like to recognize the efficiency in which HUD operated over the past year to get this project underway. We look forward to continuing to work with HUD, their federal partners, Congress, and, most importantly, the 10 communities as this vital effort moves forward.”
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said:
“Youth homelessness is one of our nation’s most difficult challenges and its size is staggering, with more than 1.3 million young people experiencing homelessness each year. As the Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I have worked to create and secure funding for important programs like the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. By supporting the development of comprehensive plans to prevent and end youth homelessness in communities across the country, this program helps us take a significant step forward in our efforts to reduce homelessness among vulnerable youth.”