When it comes to solving homelessness, leave it to Connecticut to be out in front once again. A coalition of advocates, providers, state agencies, and young adults has just launched a 100-Day Challenge to house homeless youth in the state. Funded by a wide array of local philanthropies, including Liberty Bank Foundation, it is the first of its kind in the nation
“Connecticut has an impressive history with 100-Day Challenges tackling veteran and chronic homelessness. These efforts were a critical tool in our state’s success in ending veteran homelessness in 2016,” said Connecticut Commissioner of Housing, Seila Mosquera-Bruno.
In 2018, the statewide Youth Count found that there were 5,054 unaccompanied youth who were homeless or unstably housed in Connecticut. Overall, the state has set the ambitious goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020.
In 2017, HUD awarded $6.5 million to Connecticut to implement the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program and these funds are now flowing into communities to support the 100-Day Challenge.
The compressed 100-day time-frame and broad-based participation is expected to inspire teams to collaborate, innovate and experiment to achieve rapid progress and system change.
Notably, the Challenge offers leadership development opportunities for young people who have experienced homelessness, by giving them a role in problem solving. “Incorporating authentic youth voice is critical for creating solutions that work.” Angel Cotto, Youth Action Hub, a youth-led center of research and advocacy at the Institute for Community Research
Goals for the eight competing teams will vary according to community needs, and may include housing for the most vulnerable youth, preventing youth from exiting public systems without stable housing, securing employment, and strengthening state systems.
Updates on the 100-Day Challenge can be found at the Partnership for Strong Communities. Check it out.