Confronting Housing Insecurity Among Urban Youth
Posted by: DVULI | June 22, 2022
by Brandon Woodard (Cincinnati 2021)
More than 4.2 million youth in the US experience homelessness each year. As youth workers, many of us have had conversations with youth who are currently displaced from their homes. The complexities and broad spectrum of youth housing insecurity make recommending one specific resource a challenge. However, one thing is clear after researching this topic: prevention is vital.
Below are some crucial steps to take if youth in your ministry are facing displacement:
- Contact 211. Dialing 211 or going to 211.org will provide a list of baseline resources that can assist youth facing homelessness. Sponsored by United Way, the 211 network specializes in mental health resources, which is critical as many young people struggle with the weight and trauma of displacement.
- Contact local schools. For leaders working with children under the age of 18, be sure to contact the youth’s school. Each school is funded with resources to assist children in navigating their displacement situation.
- Google search “youth drop-in center near me.” Each city has organizations that provide safe places for youth to grab meals, take showers, do laundry, and make connections. You can also try https://www.nationalsafeplace.org/.
Finally, below are some additional valuable websites to equip you with vital knowledge to become a helpful advocate.
National Network for Youth https://nn4youth.org/
National Network for Youth fights for federal policy and measures to be put in place to help eradicate youth homelessness. This organization also has a national youth advisory council that works to empower youth to help shape the policies and strategies to address youth homelessness.
Point Source Youth https://www.pointsourceyouth.org/
Point Source Youth helps connect youth with scalable rehousing opportunities. This organization offers resources and trainings to help youth workers better understand some of the factors that come into play with youth displacement.
Youth Collaboratory https://www.youthcollaboratory.org/
Youth Collaboratory created the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). This initiative offers information and training on how to build programs in communities that address youth homelessness. The organization also provides grants for these programs.
My hope is that these resources will help you take the necessary steps to equip you and your ministries to better navigate youth homelessness in your community.
Content for this resource review made possible by the generous support of AYA Youth Collective.
This article was published in the Summer 2022 issue of DVULI’s On the LEVEL print newsletter.