HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing ensures that HUD initiatives are responsive to the special needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Through the office’s competitive grants program, funding is available for organizations serving this population. One of the 2011 grantees is the Justice Resource Initiative (JRI), a Boston-based nonprofit organization that helps people who are homeless to access supported housing. When JRI applied for this grant, they decided to use the funding to reach a population they did not previously work with: young adults.
In January 2012, JRI launched the JRI Youth Housing Initiative, which will run for three years under the HUD grant. This innovative program provides housing and support for homeless youth ages 18-25 living with HIV. In addition to assisting youth in applying for housing vouchers, JRI will conduct individualized assessments and work with the individuals to access education and career opportunities, as well as to connect them to resources ranging from mental health to financial literacy. Susan Buoncuore, Program Director at JRI, applauds HUD’s grants programs saying, “These funds gave us the opportunity to fund housing and supported services for youth; we wouldn’t have done it without the support of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
At the end of the three years, JRI, like all the HUD grantees under this program, will develop an integrated HIV Housing Plan (IHHP). The document, which will include lessons learned, partners, successes and challenges, will be made public and will serve as a tool for communities interested in starting similar programs. In this way, HUD is leveraging its funding to create an even bigger footprint on the road to ending youth homelessness.
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