New Investments To Prevent & Address Youth Homelessness In New York City

Posted on July 12, 2019, 7:02 pm
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The de Blasio Administration today announced new investments to help youth experiencing homelessness transition off the streets into shelter and from shelter into permanent housing. Through collaboration across multiple City agencies, including the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Department for the Aging, and the Department of Social Services, youth experiencing homelessness will have access to an array of new resources, including a new mobile service that will help youth experiencing homelessness find and access relevant support. The Administration will also establish a Senior Advisor for Youth Homelessness responsible for overseeing the development, implementation, and expansion of such interagency initiatives, and collaborating with members of the taskforce to continue take efforts to address youth homelessness even further.

“Helping people get back on their feet is at the center of what we do as government,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Too many young people have nowhere to turn and it’s our responsibility to be their stepping stone from housing insecurity to stability.”

“We want all young people in our city to be safe, supported, and healthy – and for young people experiencing homelessness, many of whom identify as LGBTQ, that means providing them with the services and resources they need,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “New York City is proud to continue its work with the Task Force to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent and end youth homelessness.”

“The Youth Homelessness Taskforce and our academic partners have provided invaluable input into the creation of these new investments and we are grateful for their support and continued engagement,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. “These new investments will go a long way to assisting youth in need.”

Through the collaboration of multiple City agencies, youth experiencing homelessness will have access to new resources, including:

  • The Department for the Aging (DFTA) for the first time will connect youth experiencing homelessness to housing opportunities through their Home Sharing program (program already operating, effective immediately).
  • A new mobile service that will help homeless youth more easily find and access support. The design of the service will be informed by youth with lived experiences of homelessness in NYC, developed through a human-centered design process led by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, with $200,000 allocated for research, scoping and design to begin this fall.
  • A new cohort of pregnant or parenting youth participating in the outcome-driven Parent Empowerment Program through the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), which provides access to childcare to young parents while they pursue their high school equivalency diploma and earn workforce credentials.

Additionally, the Administration is:

  • creating a Senior Advisor for Youth Homelessness role under the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services to oversee interagency initiatives and collaborate with members of the taskforce to continue the work on preventing and ending youth homelessness;
  • piloting the provision of Department of Social Services (DSS) prevention resources within a Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) 24-hour drop-in center in Queens;
  • working with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to connect certain eligible young people transitioning out of DYCD shelter and entering Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter with CityFHEPS rental assistance;
  • bidding out a two-year contract through the Department of Social Services-Human Resources Administration (DSS-HRA) to support the NYC Youth Action Board, which will integrate people with lived experience within the NYC Coalition on the Continuum of Care;
  • ensuring that the Department of Youth and Community Development providers are trained by the Department of Social Services-Human Resources Administration in applying to NYC Supportive Housing units;
  • partnering with members of the NYC Youth Action Board, Department of Youth and Community Development and homeless service providers so that Human Resources Administration can update the assessment for Supportive Housing applications to include specific eligible experiences of young people; and
  • relaunching the Youth Experiencing Homelessness page on Generation NYC, co-designed by Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity with members of the NYC Youth Action Board, Department of Youth and Community Development, and homeless service providers so that there is an online resource guide specific to youth experiencing homelessness (no cost, launch this summer).

These efforts build on the de Blasio Administration’s comprehensive effort to reduce and prevent youth homelessness, most recently with the creation of the Youth Homelessness Taskforce in June 2018. The taskforce was a multi-sector stakeholder group comprised of over 80 individuals representing 16 city agencies & offices, 22 nonprofits, two federal partners, a research group and the NYC Youth Action Board, a group of young adults with lived experience of homelessness. The Taskforce coordinated with the NYC Continuum of Care and the Interagency Homelessness Accountability Council to inform the City’s next steps for preventing and ending youth homelessness.

These new innovative strategies were informed by data here from the Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence, an assessment conducted by Chapin Hall on the youth homelessness system, and the Mayor’s Youth Homelessness Taskforce.

“DYCD looks forward to continued collaboration with our Agency partners to deepen the City’s progress in improving and finding effective, innovative practices to work toward ending youth homelessness. This announcement demonstrates the City’s commitment to improve the delivery of services to help more and more young people transition back into permanent housing. Homeless youth need a safe place to stay, supportive services and opportunities to succeed,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong.

“As we address the citywide challenge of homelessness, which built up in a haphazard way over decades and impacts every community across the five boroughs, we’re proud to collaborate with our City Agency colleagues to share best practices, continually redouble our efforts, and pilot new approaches in order to develop new solutions,” said Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.

“The challenges that young people face today are abundant, with homelessness adding a layer of uncertainty and fear,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “We see the value in connecting homeless youth with older adults through the Home Sharing Program for housing as well as intergenerational exchange. This is an innovative way to maximize the City’s assets.”

“We are committed to using research, data, and technology to improve outcomes for all New Yorkers” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. “Building on our work with the Youth Homelessness Taskforce and Chapin Hall to assess available services and supports for youth experiencing homelessness, we are excited to be partnering with youth, City, and community stakeholders to identify the best solution for ensuring homeless youth are more easily connected to the support and resources they need.”

“The Parent Empowerment Program helps stabilize young families by delivering high quality childcare while supporting parents toward achieving their educational and employment goals,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “We look forward to sustaining and expanding this successful initiative as part of New York City’s comprehensive approach to addressing youth homelessness.”

“The Coalition for Homeless Youth applauds the city for continuing to improve on their efforts to meet the needs of the too many youth experiencing homelessness in NYC. We have already seen the positive impact that has come from cross-system collaboration through the New York City Youth Homelessness Taskforce, including prioritizing the Youth Action Board’s participation, and are excited to see this work continue under the leadership of the Senior Advisor for Youth Homelessness. The city’s commitment to ensuring that homeless youth will now have access to CITYFHEPS, as well as increased accessibility to supportive housing and other resources through increased capacity, staff training and a mobile platform, are cause for celebration. The Coalition for Homeless Youth looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the city on these investments.” said Jamie Powlovich, Coalition for Homeless Youth Executive Director.

“On behalf of Covenant House New York, I want to express my excitement and gratitude regarding the de Blasio Administration’s announcement of new and innovative ways to assist youth in transitioning out of homelessness and into a stable environment,” said Sr. Nancy Downing, Executive Director. “With our long history of working with youth experiencing homelessness, we know that these planned innovations will lead to stable housing, and meaningful opportunities that will be transformational in the lives of our young people,” said Nancy Downing, Covenant House Executive Director.

“New York City exposed their system to external scrutiny so that they could have an objective, evidence-based assessment of their services to youth experiencing homelessness,” said Bryan Samuels, Executive Director of Chapin Hall. “Today’s announcement of increased service coordination and availability reflects not only many of our recommendations, but also a commitment to using data and evidence to inform decision making. That’s good news for New York City’s youth.”

“The Supportive Housing Network of New York applauds the City for investing critical resources aimed at helping at-risk youth into housing, especially in its efforts to connect homeless youth to supportive housing,” said Laura Mascuch, Supportive Housing Network of New Executive Director.

“The New York City Youth Action Board (YAB) is looking forward to our continued work with the City to improve the ways the needs of young people who are currently homeless are met. The YAB has always felt it is critical that youth at high risk of becoming homeless get the support that they need and deserve to prevent them from becoming homeless at all. Most, if not all, current YAB members feel that their initial experience of homelessness was traumatic and preventable. Thus, we are happy to see the city committing to expand their approaches to prevent youth from experiencing homelessness while maintaining its commitment to giving currently homeless youth a way out,” said Skye Adrian, Chair of the New York City Youth Action Board.

“There are many experts in the Youth Homelessness Taskforce who helped the City determine what the next best steps were for youth experiencing homelessness. We know there is more to do but are excited about taking these first steps. In my second year I will continue to work with the stakeholders of the taskforce to ensure the City is responsive to the needs of youth experiencing homelessness,” said Cole Giannone, Senior Advisor for Youth Homelessness to Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio.

This announcement builds upon a number of initiatives taken by the de Blasio Administration to prevent and address youth homelessness, including the NYC Unity Project, a $9.5 million investment to prevent and address homelessness for LGBTQ youth across the City; 500 new beds for homeless youth and expansion of youth drop-in centers; the Department of Homeless Services’ Marsha’s House in the Bronx, the first-ever DHS shelter for LGBTQ young people in New York City; and the commitment to allocate 1,700 supportive housing units for youth through the Supportive Housing NYC 15/15 Initiative.

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