1.1 A Blueprint for Ending Youth Homelessness


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1.1 A Blueprint for Ending Youth Homelessness

Speaker: Katie Hong

How do we end youth homelessness? This workshop will summarize research and examine an emerging typology that can be used to inform and appropriately scale interventions to end youth homelessness. Presenters will describe strategies that are working to help young people reconnect with family and other caring adults when appropriate, and prepare to transition successfully to independent living with housing and supportive services.

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1.1 A Blueprint for Ending Youth Homelessness

  1. 1. Blueprint for Action:Current planning efforts in King County to prevent and end youth homelessness PRESENTED BY KATIE HONG RAIKES FOUNDATION FEBRUARY 9, 2012
  2. 2. Initial ResearchWhat do we know What is the current What can we learnabout the nature of “ecosystem” in King from otherthe problem? County? What are our communities and fromWhat don’t we strengths? And research? Who is doingknow? challenges? this well? If we wanted to take action, what are options for us to consider? How can we prevent and reduce youth homelessness in King County?
  3. 3. Summary of key findings There are at least 1,000 homeless youth and young adults in King County on any given night. There are many factors that contribute to youth experiencing homelessness. Family conflict, physical and sexual abuse, aging out of foster care, chemical and substance abuse as well as poverty are some of the reasons for youth homelessness. There are a number of strong and key provider agencies, promising programs and at least $7 million per year being spent to address the issue of youth homelessness in King County. Yet both service and system gaps remain. While there is still a lot that we don’t know about what is exactly needed to prevent and end youth homelessness, research (both national and local) and practitioners are consistent in identifying promising practices for working with homeless youth.
  4. 4. Research Findings: Elements identified as promising practices in working with youth Family reunification (with After-care services) Outreach and Engagement Strong initial assessment (street outreach and drop and screening + Basic Tailored services (mental in) Services health, substance abuse counseling, employment, education) Case Management Appropriate housing (transitional, group home, scattered site)An effective system is supported by:•Coordinating services among providers and interagency cooperation•Collecting and using data for program planning and for better serving youth•Youth development focus – age appropriate services that focus on empoweringyouth
  5. 5. Research Findings: What is working well? Communication and coordination  Regular meetings of case management staff, outreach staff to share information and collaborate on advocacy efforts “low barrier” services and youth-centered choices  Service providers are working with kids where they are (street outreach, meals, services, and giving youth choices among service providers, etc.) Innovative and coordinated services for high risk and street youth with multiple barriers  United Way “wrap around” services project (e.g., Groundwork Project)  South King County “Coming Up” project (KCHA, Auburn Youth Services, Valley Cities counseling)  Catalyst “low barrier” transitional housing
  6. 6. Research Findings: What are the main “gaps” Need more of everything – every part of the housing and services continuum need more resources  A growing consensus that more beds/resources are needed for youth under 18 Not enough focus on prevention Not enough access to mental health and chemical dependency services Not enough emphasis on the “back end”- employment and education No clear roadmap and a coordinated system for how we prevent and end youth homelessness in our community No a functional data system to track system level progress or to better serve youth
  7. 7. What prompted Portland’s Youth Continuum?A Citizen Commission report on services to homeless youth in Portland in 1998 found that: Data collection on the homeless youth population and service system was inadequate There was poor government leadership and no overall plan for addressing homeless youth issues Service providers and government staff were not being held accountable There was no guiding philosophy for service delivery Service delivery was fragmented A lack of outcome based standards resulted in an inability to assess the effectiveness of services Public funding for homeless youth services is inadequate This really resonated with various stakeholders in King County – many who reflected that this could describe where we are in King County today
  8. 8. Alignment of several efforts United Way and the Committee to End Homelessness Efforts to look at “systems transformation” Provider led efforts to talk about better coordinating on a regional basis to prevent and reduce youth homelessness Private funders interest in systems transformation
  9. 9. Blueprint for Action: a 6 month process Led by United Way of King County and supported by Building Changes Overall guidance is set by funders group – the “what”? Task Force members, youth, other key stakeholders are providing the expertise to develop the “how” Blueprint for action will have recommendations on how we can get started on:  Prevention  Coordinated engagement  Data
  10. 10. STRATEGY: DRAFT: King County’s Emerging Approach to Prevent homelessness and/or quickly engage out- Ending Youth and Young Adult Homelessness of-home youth with interventions that match Families/foster Youth from Unaccompanie housing and services families pre- other d Youth 12-18 needs. crisis and in- “systems” like Young adults crisis the child 18-24 welfare system Focus #1: PREVENTION: Prevent youth and young adult homelessness and divert them from homeless systems through strategies focused on: 1. Intervening with youth under 18 who are newly homeless to unify with family/foster family or place in housing; 2. Preserving families through counseling for parents and youth; 3. Preventing youth in other “systems” like foster care from entering the homeless system Focus #2: COORDINATED ENGAGEMENT: Building on existing assets, such as outreach, engage youth and focus on quickly getting them off the streets and reconnected with family or in a stable, developmentally appropriate housing situation. Formalize coordination through: 1. Common assessment of needs; 2. Matching of services and housing based on client need; 3. Coordinated case management TARGETED HOUSING AND SERVICES: Youth and Young adult centered services and mainstream services: Housing (varying degrees of support and flexible lengths of stay), Education, Mental Health + Chemical Dependency Counseling, Employment, continued efforts towards Family Reunification/ Permanent Connections, Health Care, Life Skills Focus #3: CLIENT LEVEL OUTCOMESCOORDINATED DATA: 1. Increased family reunification and 1. To assess progress toward SYSTEM LEVEL IMPACTS facilitation of permanent connections shared outcomes (through data 2. Increased placement in culturally relevant 1. More youth are prevented from becoming sharing and analysis at the safe, developmentally appropriate housing; homeless systems level) 3. Increased employability and connection to 2. Youth who do become homeless find safe, 2. To support continuous the workforce stable housing improvement (through 4. Increased academic success 3. Reduce returns to homelessness among evaluation and analysis at the 5. Improved ability to develop and maintain youth/young adults through effective program level) healthy relationships interventions 6. Improved health and wellbeing
  11. 11. Advice for other communities? Leverage existing research and studies Convene diverse stakeholders who are interested and can play unique role in the solutions Structure a clear, finite process with end goal and clear expectations for participants Take action – start small but have the longer term vision in mind