TRANSITIONAL LIVING PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH: WHAT WORKS?<br />Presentation to NAEH Conference<br />JULY 13th, 2011<br />Sam Cobbs, Chief Executive Officer<br />
First Place was founded in 1998 to end poverty and homelessness among transition age youth (age16-24)<br />Homeless youth are<br />18 times more likely to use serious <br />drugs than their non-homeless <br />counterparts<br />2-3 times more likely to be raped or<br /> assaulted<br />11 times more likely to experience <br /> mental health challenges<br />The Problem<br />
For youth transitioning from foster care, we know that <br />65 percent face <br />imminent homelessness<br />20 percent will be arrested <br />or incarcerated<br />Only 3 percent will graduate <br /> from college<br />The Problem (cont.)<br />
A continuum of transitional support services for youth ages<br />16-24 that includes:<br />Access to permanent, safe affordable housing with a transitional rental subsidy<br />Employment training, employment <br />case management, and job <br />development<br />Education assessment and <br />academic support<br />Adult guidance, emotional support <br />and positive peer relationships<br />The Solution<br />
Lessons LearnedHousing Model<br />Housing first, with a focus on permanent housing, allows for emphasis on education, employment and other interpersonal gains<br />Scattered site housing works for many populations: youth with a range of mental health issues, probation youth, parents, singles, etc. when services are individualized<br />Scattered site model allows quick start up in new communities- we had 30 youth housed in Los Angeles 8 months after starting a program there<br />Can be funded by range of sources: HPRP, HUD-SHP, THP+, etc. Fits “rapid rehousing” and “transition in place” models<br />
Lessons LearnedProgram/Service Design<br />Basing work in positive youth development allows for meeting youth where they are at and building on success<br />Harm reduction approach, where focus is on consequences of negative behaviors instead of the behavior itself allows for more honesty with Advocate and creative solutions. Also keeps youth in program longer (ie statewide THP+ study found that involuntary exits among all providers is 45%, due largely to zero tolerance policies. By contrast, First Place’s involuntary exit rate is 20%.)<br />To create real-world housing experience (signing leases, receiving notices, etc.) program must separate property management function from case management<br />Rent collection and rent rates tied to actual rent, as opposed to income, an important teaching and empowerment tool<br />Key to success are intensive services and staff support<br />Staff ratio is 1:10 for MFP youth<br />Strong partnership between EE Specialist and Youth Advocate is lynch-pin<br />Staffing/Service budget comprises 50% of program expenses<br />
Lessons LearnedPolicy and Evaluation<br />Significant investments in data tracking and analysis lends to continual improvement of program, strong performance management, and evidence for funding support<br />Sustained policy/advocacy work critical for ensuring public funding streams are available and appropriate for supporting youth programs<br />Federal Fostering Connections to Success Act provides opportunity for new funding to support youth to the age of 21<br />
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