4.7 Supporting Undocumented Families and Youth


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4.7 Supporting Undocumented Families and Youth

Speaker: Sage Foster

It is often unclear what programs can be accessed by families and youth who are undocumented. This workshop will explore eligibility criteria for homelessness programs for undocumented residents, and protections in the law for immigrant victims of domestic violence. Presenters will also share strategies local providers have adopted to reach out to undocumented families and youth experiencing homelessness.

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4.7 Supporting Undocumented Families and Youth

  1. 1. 4.7 Supporting Undocumented Family and YouthNAEH National Conference on Ending Families and Youth Homelessness Los Angeles, February 8-10, 2012 Sage B. Foster, M Ed, MPH Housing Partnership Manager Abode Services (510) 552-6927 sfoster@abodeservices.org
  2. 2. Essential Elements of a Welcoming Program for Undocumented Families• Bi-lingual staff at the Front Door!• Clarity of what the program provides and eligibility requirements.• All program descriptions/materials available in Spanish.• Culturally competent staff with the ability to build rapport/trust.• Understand that ‘homeless’ may not be how households identify themselves.
  3. 3. Outreach to Undocumented Families• Many households will not utilize the 2-1-1 system and will require targeted community outreach to access assistance with their housing crisis.• Meet with staff at monolingual medical clinics• Contact legal immigration services for referrals and to make referrals• Visit Labor Ready Centers to distribute translated program materials
  4. 4. Who are the Undocumented Families Experiencing a Housing Crisis?• The ‘working poor’ that can not afford market rate rents• People being paid ’under the table’ (cleaning houses, gardening)• Those unable to negotiate a livable wage from employer• Households with no safety net when laid off or fired by employer• Those that are living in places not fit for human habitation
  5. 5. Barriers to Housing/Services• Fear of requesting assistance due to undocumented status• No credit or bad credit history• Eviction with or without a lease• Criminal background of a family member• Lack of trust in non immigrant provider network• Fear of breaking up extended families
  6. 6. Re-housing Procedures For Undocumented Families• Seek out appropriate communities with culturally supportive services (clinics, stores)• Education on Housing Processes – Leasing – Fair Housing – Emergency Contacts – Tenant Responsibilities – Landlord/Property Management Responsibilities
  7. 7. Outcomes of Housing Undocumented Families• Having completed 2.5 years of providing Rapid Re-housing services to undocumented households in Alameda County, they and/or their service providers are reporting success in housing stability and self sufficiency.• As one housed family reports, “ You made us feel so safe and gave us a chance to have our own apartment in the neighborhood we chose to be in; otherwise we would be sleeping in my uncle’s car with all the children and now we are employed and seeking citizenship”.