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3.13 Judith Dittman
 

3.13 Judith Dittman

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    3.13 Judith Dittman 3.13 Judith Dittman Presentation Transcript

    • Housing for Unaccompanied Youth
      A model for community collaboration
    • Young people who attend high school, are homeless and do not have the support of a parent or guardian are in a precarious situation. Without stable housing concentrating on education is difficult. Finding a place to study, sufficient food to eat and medical care are all issues. Adult homeless shelters are not a good option for young people who are 18 to 21 and still in school.
      Homeless Youth Initiative
    • Homeless Adult Shelters are by design, not for high school students. In order for minimal disruption educationally in spite of homelessness, students need a consistent place to stay where they can focus on school. Adult shelters do not offer that regular nighttime residence. Frequently, they offer a night to night possibility of a place to sleep, requiring hyper vigilance on the part of the student regarding basic needs and personal safety. This housing is so very far removed from that of the regular student population at school, the student is a further risk of disengaging from peers and becoming isolated with homelessness.
      Understanding the Need
    • Gathering stakeholders
      Community invitation to join Unaccompanied youth task force
      Representatives from Multiple agencies including:
      Shelter programs, CPS, Dept of family Services, Housing, Recreation services, Dept of Human Services, NAEHCY, youth representative
      How did we start?
    • Identify strengths within the community (what do we have in place)
      Identify Weaknesses (what are the barriers for our youth)
      Identify Opportunities for youth (what are some of the options suggested)
      Threats to progressing
      Need identification (SWOT Analysis)
      • Current programs: Assisting Youth Mothers, Residential Youth Services, Alternative House
      • FCPS Homeless Liaison’s Office (provide transportation to school, access to resources, tutors in shelters)
      • Commitment of Task Force members
      • FC Coordinated Services and Planning
      • Job skills programs
      • Finding alternatives to avoid foster care
      • FC Teen Centers
      • Strong faith community
      Strengths
      • Lack of affordable housing
      • Lack of adult to sign for Alternative House
      • Lack of awareness/understanding of issues surrounding unaccompanied youth
      • $$$
      • Policies that frustrate efforts to support unaccompanied youth
      • Link between teens living with boy/girlfriends and teen pregnancy
      y
      Weaknesses
    • Policy review
      Newly created Office to Prevent and End Homelessness
      New $1.8 billion through Stimulus plan
      Teen/Community/Recreation Centers
      Faith community
      Public Awareness/Education campaign (billboards, radio, TV, buses, newspaper)
      Business community
      Current journalism attention on homeless students
      Develop host home program: ie Mentor homes, Host homes, Safe Homes, Child Help
      Opportunities
    • Economic downturn
      Public discomfort with children being on their own
      Misperceptions between undocumented minors and unaccompanied youth
      Age of becoming an “adult” differs between other cultures and may cause confusion
      Political pressure to avoid $ for undocumented immigrants
      Threats
    • The services provided by the Homeless Youth Initiative include:
      Helping homeless youth locate safe, affordable housing.
      Providing assistance with food and clothing when necessary.
      Provide case management, life skills training and educational supports to achieve graduation from high school.
      Program Services
    • Home for Teen Girls
      A four bedroom home in Vienna is available to house four 18 year old young women who are enrolled in FCPS. A “residential assistant” also lives in the home to ensure the house rules are being followed. Students are screened by the therapist to be sure they are appropriate for this housing.
      Janet Lane House
    • Host Homes are individuals or families in the community willing to take a student in and provide housing while the student is enrolled in high school. The family/individual undergoes background checks and meets with the program’s Housing Coordinator. Students are assessed by the therapist in terms of appropriateness for the program and their needs.
      Host Homes
    • How involved the host family is in the life of the teen is dependent on the student and the Host Home and an agreement about house rules is defined by the two parties. The Host Home Coordinator visits with the family once a month to ensure things are going smoothly. The student also receives support from the Host Home Coordinator and Case Manager.
      Host Homes
    • Small rental subsidies are provided to help student secure housing. We may help them find and afford a room for rent with a family or subsidize housing they currently are in but cannot afford. Students secure employment to help them live independently. As with the other housing options, they must apply for the program and participate in a meeting with the Therapist to determine eligibility. They receive ongoing support from Alternative House staff.
      Rental Subsidy
    • The Alternative House Housing Coordinator matches the young person with appropriate housing. The best option is to locate a room in a home located near the school the young person attends. By using this arrangement there are three benefits:
      A family that may be stretching to make their mortgage payment receives that small additional income that keeps them in their home;
      The young person has a safe, stable living arrangement close to the social supports he or she has developed; and
      The school district does not incur the cost of transporting the young person from a remote shelter to their high school.
      Rental Subsidy
    • Case Manager
      Therapist
      Housing Locator
      Supervisory oversight
      Collaboration with McKinney Vento office at Fairfax County Public Schools
      Staffing
      • The Case Manager meets with the young person when they enter the program and a minimum of monthly, thereafter. The Case Manager helps the young person complete the program application and discusses with the youth what supports he or she needs. This may include assistance in obtaining birth certificates, legal aid, social security cards as well as food stamps, clothing, medical care, budgeting, employment, and other needs. The Case Manager checks in with the young person at least once a month to make sure all of the supports the student needs are in place.
      Role of the Case Manager
    • The Therapist is often the first contact with the Homeless Youth Initiative program. She conducts an assessment to determine confirm whether the young person is able to live on their own and a comprehensive mental health survey to determine both past and present mental health needs.
      Therapist
    • The Housing Locator locates suitable housing be it host homes or a room to rent. The Locator facilitates agreements between the youth and the housing provider and checks in on a regular basis to make sure the agreement is still a good fit. The Locator also works in the community to recruit suitable placements, preferably host homes.
      Housing Locator
    • Working out barriers that arise
      Program fluidity and improvement
      Handling issues
    • June 2009 – 100 homeless unaccompanied students – numerous dropouts – 10% in adult shelters
      August 2009 Homeless Youth Initiative begins
      June 2010 – 200 homeless unaccompanied students – 1 dropout – none in an adult shelter – 77% of graduating seniors go on to some form of college
      June 2011 – 260 homeless unaccompanied students – no dropouts – 1% in an adult shelter - 27 accepted to four year colleges – 100% of graduating seniors housed by Homeless Youth Initiative going on to some form of higher education
      Outcomes
    • Finding additional funding sources and maintaining current funding
      Continuous program improvements
      Growth
      Funding and the Future