A stable home is critical to the development of children and young adults. When they spend their energy wondering where they’ll sleep and what to eat, it’s nearly impossible for them to focus on doing well in school and preparing for their future.
On any given night, more than 45,000 unaccompanied youth and young adults experience homelessness. Yet, youth homelessness is often an invisible problem, as young people are often not in plain sight. Many don’t know where to go to ask for help and many communities lack dedicated youth services. Despite these limitations, philanthropy and federal partners have come together to commit to ending youth and young adult homelessness by 2020.
To accomplish this goal, HUD and its federal partner agencies are joining with several philanthropic organizations, including the Raikes Foundation, to align investments and resources in order to ensure that homelessness among youth and young adults is rare and are brief occurrences.
As part of the Delivering Outcomes for Communities Training, hosted by the Office of Management and Budget and the Partnership for Public Service, HUD and Raikes Foundation colleagues discussed how they developed their partnership, their strategy for ending youth homelessness, and the benefits of government partnering with philanthropy.
By first establishing a common goal, federal and philanthropic partners are working to design and execute a comprehensive plan to end youth homelessness. Experience reducing Veteran homelessness informed the strategy to end youth homelessness.
Learning from previous success and translating this momentum to ending youth homelessness, federal and philanthropic partners are co-investing in multiple projects to:
- accurately size the youth homeless population;
- identify innovative solutions;
- empower communities to systemically solve the problem; and
- support the field with the establishment of A Way Home America, to speak with one voice about what actions and resources are needed.
This cross-sector partnership takes advantage of the strengths of all parties involved to advance progress. Philanthropy is often able to be more flexible and nimble than government, allowing them to fund crucial backbone efforts to coordinate stakeholders in the field. While government set the vision through Opening Doors, the nation’s first comprehensive federal strategy to prevent and end homelessness, philanthropy and government partners align investments in meaningful ways and amplify lessons learned about what is working.
HUD understands that the complex issues facing our communities, like youth homelessness, must be addressed through coordinated approaches that facilitate many stakeholders working together. To achieve our common goal, HUD and the Raikes Foundation will continue to work with others to maximize the expertise and resources of a network of partners dedicated to ending youth homelessness in our country.
Sarah Hunter is a Policy Advisor at HUD and Katie Hong is the Director of Youth Homelessness at the Raikes Foundation.