Archive for February 16th, 2012

16th February
written by naehblog

Today’s guest post comes to us from Shahera Hyatt.

I would first like to start off by thanking the Alliance for explicitly including youth in this year’s conference on ending homelessness. For those of us who work day in and out on this issue, it was great to be with others to share our knowledge, experience, and passion for this work.

There were a few themes over the course of the conference regarding youth homelessness, with the first being the need for more timely and consistent data on this population. Not only was there a workshop on this topic, but Nan Roman gave considerable time to the issue in her plenary speech on the first day of the conference. She stated that even though the current data on the size and scope of youth homelessness is severely lacking (and I whole-heartedly agree), moving forward with the data we’ve got is absolutely critical.

To that end, she presented data from the NISMART-II in a new way, stating that about 96 percent of runaways under the age of 18 return home within one week (although many cycle in and out of homelessness). Policy Analyst Samantha Batko translated the data in a way that hasn’t been done before by identifying characteristics about the trajectory of youth homelessness in the hopes to shed new light on where interventions should be targeted.

This information indicates that supporting crisis interventions to help facilitate the process of returning home is essential. While in the case of the 400,000 who are unable or unwilling to return home for various reasons such as abuse or parental incarceration, utilizing housing strategies such as transitional living or permanent supportive housing would be most useful. While many of us wonder how the NISMART data holds up today, we hope that there are still valuable lessons to be learned that can be applied and implemented immediately.

The second theme was the need for a variety of different housing strategies for homeless youth and young adults to get them into stable living conditions. There was a particular emphasis on rapid re-housing, a model that has been successful for other segments of the homeless population.

The third theme was the heterogeneity of the homeless youth. This was repeated time and again by various presenters. The workshop on creating a blueprint to end youth homelessness focused largely on creating a new typology that recognizes these differences, subtly urging the audience to consider the unique needs of each youth in determining interventions. This typology identified three groups: the temporarily disconnected (this population generally retums home on their own), the unstably connected (for which family reunification may be most helpful), and the chronically disconnected (best served by permanent supportive housing or transitional housing).

I look forward to seeing how these ideas continue to evolve both in policy and in practice.

Shahera Hyatt is the Director of the California Homeless Youth Project where her focus is translating research on homeless youth for the legislative audience. Hyatt is also the co-chair of the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center’s Homeless Youth Initiative, and is a member of the Alliance’s National Advisory Council on LGBT youth.

16th February
written by Amanda Benton

On Monday, the Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2013 Budget Proposal. This is the start of the Alliance’s advocacy season and we’re excited by some of the numbers! This year is a great time to start getting involved with advocating for homeless assistance programs – join us today!

If you’re wondering what the President’s Budget Proposal is – and why it’s important –  you’re not alone. This big document is released every year by the Administration in early February . It officially kicks off the federal budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, which will start on October 1.

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed why this proposal matters. The President’s budget Proposal is not law. It’s meant to serve as a guide for Congress as it makes its own decisions about appropriations and the federal budget.

The President’s FY 2013 Budget Proposal includes suggested funding levels for many key programs targeted toward low-income or homeless people. This year, we at the Alliance were really excited to see some impressive increases proposed to homeless assistance programs:

These increases of about $330 million to VA’s homelessness programs and HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs each (not to mention funding for additional HUD-VASH vouchers) are a clear sign of the Administration’s commitment to implementing the HEARTH Act and the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness – even in a time of extremely tight budgeting.

The Budget Proposal also included flat funding (the same as in FY 2012) for countless other federal programs, including many that are important to homeless and at-risk people:

In addition, it proposed some cuts to key programs, including Project-Based Rental Assistance, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Section 811, and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.  For more details on the Administration’s proposed funding levels, click here.

So, what happens next? Congress has already begun to hold hearings on the Budget Proposal, and soon they’ll start to craft their own proposals. The Alliance is planning to launch major advocacy campaigns around several high-priority funding issues, including for HUD’s McKinney-Vento programs, RHYA programs, and VA’s Zero Homelessness Initiative. If you are interested in participating in any of these campaigns, please contact us!