To end youth homelessness, the ideas of young people with lived experience must be heard and respected.
Youth who’ve experienced homelessness are experts – because they’ve actually lived it! That’s why, this week, the National Youth Forum on Homelessness (NYFH) is working with leaders from across the country to prepare 10 local community plans to end youth homelessness. NYFH, which the True Colors Fund facilitates with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, collaborates with leaders to ensure that our national movement 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 work NYFH is doing this week is part of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program – an initiative from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created to reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness in 10 participating communities, including:
- Anchorage, AK
- San Francisco, CA
- Watsonville, Santa Cruz City/County, CA
- Rural Kentucky
- Grand Traverse, Antrim, Leelanau Counties, MI
- Cincinnati/Hamilton County, Ohio;
- Rural Ohio
- Austin/Travis County, TX
- Seattle/King County, WA
This week, NYFH members, leaders from the 10 communities, and other national experts will participate in a policy academy to prepare the communities to begin implementing their plans. NYFH’s relationship with these communities can be described as that of “youth technical assistance provider.” Last year, NYFH members worked with HUD to review and score applications from communities across the nation, and received formal training on the grant review process.
By identifying, evaluating, and culling together best practices from different communities across the country, this program will serve as a blueprint for communities, service providers, advocates, and policymakers alike.
Nominate the next generation of leaders.
It’s vital that young people with lived experience are at the table when decisions are being made that affect them and their peers. Our 40 of the 40 list honors the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who have experienced homelessness, and offers them opportunities to get further involved in the movement through projects like NYFH and the True Fellowship! We’re currently accepting nominations for our 2018 40 of the 40 list – so if you work with or know an LGBTQ young person who has experiences with homelessness or housing instability, we encourage you to nominate them here!