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October 26, 2022, Sacramento, CA – Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) announced today that the local Continuum of Care (CoC) will receive $6.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to build a region wide plan and fund innovative programs designed to end youth homelessness.
“We are thrilled to receive this very competitive funding to develop model approaches to end youth homelessness,” said Lisa Bates, Chief Executive Officer of Sacramento Steps Forward, the agency which filed the application on the CoC’s behalf. The CoC is the regional local planning body charged with coordinating and administering housing and services funding to address homelessness.
Youth homelessness is a particularly challenging issue. For example, youth are often harder to count during the bi-annual Point in Time count because they are more likely to be couch surfing or doubled up with friends. Transitional age youth are four times more likely to identify as Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual compared to adults ages 25 and over (31% vs. 8%). A significant proportion of youth (nearly one in five) identify as either Transgender (9%), or Gender Nonconforming (8%). Approximately half (49%) of unsheltered youth indicated in the 2022 PIT that they had been in foster care or a group home before the age of 18.
Bridget Alexander, Director of Waking the Village, which offers housing and support for Sacramento children and their parents experiencing homelessness and who championed the application process, said the funding is a huge boost for Sacramento.
“Not only will Sacramento be able to pursue innovation in reaching the goal of ensuring youth are greeted with housing on day one of homelessness. It also means that the process of creating these innovations will be deeply collaborative and youth led. Youth who have experienced homelessness will be bringing their expertise to the rooms where the plan is made to prevent and end youth homelessness in Sacramento.”
The funding is part of HUD’s $83.7 Million Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). It will come with federal technical assistance to develop and implement a coordinated community approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness
The first goal will be to develop the plan within six months. Youth voices will help guide the programs, meeting them where they are and giving them what they know is most needed. The CoC can then fund a wide range of housing programs including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and create host homes with YHDP funding.