What can be accomplished in 100 days? A lot as it turns out. Last year the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the state $6.6 million for the Youth Homeless Demonstration Program – in other words, funds to underwrite a concerted effort to address and end youth homelessness.
Earlier this year, service providers joined forces and accepted the 100-day challenge. The upshot? During the period, they were able to house 397 youth and young adults.
The service providers did the direct work, but they were backed up by a broad-based coalition of advocates, funders, state agencies, and young adults with lived experience of homelessness. Melville Charitable Trust marshalled resources from 21 other Connecticut funders, including Liberty Bank Foundation.
State child welfare, justice, and education staff also contributed their thoughts on how to make the response system more effective for youth.
At the campaign’s end, Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno of the State of Connecticut Department of Housing, said, “The work of getting folks out of the cycle of homelessness is challenging. Being able to house close to 400 youth and young adults shows that working together, our partners can respond to the needs of our most vulnerable populations.”
Stacey Violante Cote, chair of the Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Workgroup of the Reaching Home Campaign, a statewide campaign to end youth homelessness in Connecticut, added, “They made new connections and came up with innovative solutions. We can all learn from their work.”
The 2019 Youth Outreach Count, conducted by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, estimated that 5,455 young people under the age of 25 experienced homelessness or housing instability in Connecticut during the year.
The 100-Day Challenge to End Youth Homelessness in Connecticut is the first statewide effort of its kind. But who’s surprised? On a national level we’ve led the way in ending veteran and chronic homelessness.
Want to hear from local homeless youth themselves? Check out the Youth Action Hub blog.