U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson today awarded $1.5 million to nearly a dozen housing authorities to assist young people aging out of foster care and who are at risk of experiencing homelessness. See chart here.
Funded through HUD’s new Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative, this funding will offer housing vouchers to local public housing authorities to prevent or end homelessness among young adults under the age of 25 who are, or have recently left, the foster care system without a home to go to. FYI requires that communities provide supportive services for the length of assistance to help youth achieve self-sufficiency. These activities center around basic life skills, landlord outreach, and job preparation. Additionally, they will receive educational and career counseling as well as counseling on program and lease compliance. This is critical given that the assistance is time limited.
“HUD wants to ensure young people who leave foster care have a smooth transition when they go out on their own,” said HUD Secretary Carson. “The funding announced today will allow local housing authorities to focus on helping young people find housing to keep them off the streets and prevent them from becoming homeless.”
These tenant-protection vouchers will go to public housing authorities that do not participate in HUD’s Family Unification Program. The public housing authorities must:
- Administer a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program;
- Enter into a partnership agreement with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);
- Accept young people referred by their partnering PCWA;
- Determine that the referred youth are eligible for HCV assistance.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that more than 20,000 young people age out of foster care each year. The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW) estimates that approximately 25 percent of these young people experience homelessness within four years of leaving foster care and an even higher share are precariously housed.