From the USICH Newsletter:
Working group headed by ACYF Commissioner Unveils Framework to Reach 2020 Youth Goal
On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services hosted the second Council meeting of the year, which focused on what federal agencies and policymakers know about youth homelessness and next steps in our work to end youth homelessness by 2020. USICH Chair and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was joined by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Director of the Corporation for National and Community Service Wendy Spencer, and representatives from 18 member agencies. The meeting, held as we near the second anniversary of Opening Doors, marked a new framework for how to approach the problem of youth homelessness in a more coordinated and effective way across different disciplines working with this population.
The Council received a presentation from the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at HHS, Bryan Samuels, on the proposed framework for ending youth homelessness. Since last September, youth homelessness policy experts at many of the agencies on the Council have come together to gather what is known about youth homelessness, its prevalence, and solutions. The group focused on necessary first steps of arriving at a confident estimate of the number of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. All Council members and stakeholders agreed that getting better data on this population is a critical action that must be done as soon as possible, and proposed actions such as encouraging a youth complement to the current HUD Point-in-Time count, utilizing Department of Education data, and integrating RHYMIS and HMIS data collection.
The framework includes a new, preliminary intervention model that builds on knowledge of effective, research-based interventions for each subgroup of youth. The intervention model presents a way to consider an individual youth’s risk and protective factors to tailor interventions expressly aimed at influencing core outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness (stable housing, permanent connections, social-emotional well-being, education and employment). The premise of the model is that interventions that reduce risk factors and increase protective factors will lead to these improved outcomes.
Using this framework as a guide, stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels can begin to work collaboratively with all agencies and programs that serve youth experiencing homelessness to make meaningful and measureable improvements in core outcomes for youth. Ultimately, ending youth homelessness requires a collaborative, systematic approach-federally and locally-that includes targeted homelessness assistance and mainstream systems. This framework is an extremely positive step forward in our collaborative work to understand the scope and interventions necessary to end youth homelessness by 2020. The Administration is showing that collaborative leadership can help communities make strategic advancements toward this goal, and supported the implementation of the youth framework moving forward.
The Council also invited three thought leaders in the area of youth homelessness who presented their feedback on the framework and recommendations for necessary first steps forward for both federal agencies and local organizations (see below).