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100-Day Challenge to end youth homelessness

In September 2016, A Place 4 Me launched a 100-Day Challenge to end youth homelessness and set an ambitious goal: to house 100 homeless youth (aged 18-25) in 100 days and strengthen systems to prevent homelessness for youth aging out of the foster care system.

A Place 4 Me’s 100-Day Challenge addresses the unique needs of youth who experienced foster care and lack the emotional and material support of a family, leaving them particularly vulnerable to having an unstable housing situation.

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A Place 4 Me

No one organization or agency can take on the task of preventing and ending youth homelessness. It requires diverse and innovative thinking from nonprofit organizations, public systems, local government, the faith-based community, funders and — most especially — the young men and women with deep expertise that is only attained through experiencing homelessness.

A Place 4 Me is an initiative that harnesses the strengths and resources of more than 30 partners to prevent and end homelessness among young adults age 15 to 24 in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County.

A Place 4 Me is led by a steering committee consisting of YWCA Greater Cleveland; Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services, including the Division of Children and Family Services and the Office of Homeless Services; FrontLine Service; and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative; and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. Together, the committee works to coordinate the planning and implementation of local efforts to improve outcomes for youth in the areas of housing, employment, education, physical and mental health, and financial stability.

Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County

Each year, hundreds of young people experience homelessness and housing instability in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County. They lack the consistency, familiarity and stability of a home. And without it, everything seems harder. The A Place 4 Me initiative — named and inspired by youth — is working to change this by advancing a coordinated plan to prevent and end youth homelessness in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County.

In September 2016, A Place 4 Me launched a 100-Day Challenge to end youth homelessness and set an ambitious goal: to house 100 homeless youth (aged 18-25) in 100 days and strengthen systems to prevent homelessness for youth aging out of the foster care system.

A Place 4 Me’s 100-Day Challenge addresses the unique needs of youth who experienced foster care and lack the emotional and material support of a family, leaving them particularly vulnerable to having an unstable housing situation.

 

100-Day Challenge NEWS:

National Initiative to End Youth Homelessness Selects Cleveland/Cuyahoga County, Austin and Los Angeles to Launch 100-Day Challenges

Cleveland/Cuyahoga Co. to House 100 Homeless Youth in 100 Days

Homeless youth in Cuyahoga County:

  • 129 youth identified as unaccompanied, homeless and not having stable housing in June 2015.
  • 38% of youth identified in the CWRU study stayed with family for at least one night within the last month.
  • Average age of homeless youth in the CWRU study is
  • 83% of the 129are young people of color (compared to 36% of Cuyahoga County residents)
  • Nearly a third of the 129 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.
  • 81% of homeless youth in the CWRU study are actively looking for work.

 

Accelerating work to prevent and end youth homelessness

A Way Home America recently selected Cleveland, Austin and Los Angeles to launch 100-Day Challenges to advance efforts to end youth homelessness. Through a competitive application process, Cleveland/Cuyahoga County was chosen because of the work already accomplished through the A Place 4 Me and the commitment of the partners involved in the initiative. A 100-Day Challenge is an exciting opportunity to accelerate local work toward ending homelessness among young people, and to rapidly develop and test innovative approaches to drive toward that goal over 100 days.

In 100 days, the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Challenge team intends to house 100 homeless youth aged 18-24. Further, we aim to strengthen support systems for youth so that by November 14, 2016, no child will age out of the foster care system into homelessness ever again.

RESEARCH SHOWS COORDINATED SUPPORT CAN HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE YOUTH, THEIR CHILDREN AND THE COMMUNITY IN WHICH THEY LIVE.

By providing supports to vulnerable youth who transition out of the foster care system, A Place 4 Me helps ensure youth have stable housing, which allows them to be more productive citizens.

A 2015 Case Western Reserve University study shows that:

  • Homeless youth were more likely to:
    • have children.
    • have been in foster care.
    • have dropped out of high school.
    • have been to jail or detention.
    • be dealing with substance use, domestic violence, and mental health issues.
  • Homeless youth were less likely to:
    • be living with their children.
    • be in school.
    • be employed.

Eyes across the country are on Cleveland/Cuyahoga County’s 100-Day Challenge to end youth homelessness. We encourage you to learn more about this critical issue affecting our youth.

TELL ME ABOUT THE WORK

What will happen during the 100-Day Challenge?

Cleveland’s 100-Day Challenge team will work together to house 100 literally homeless youth (18-24 years old) with a special focus on those with DCFS involvement. Furthermore, we will strengthen the systems we have, so that as of Day 66 (November 16) and forever more, no child will age out into homelessness in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County. 

Examples of what the work of the Challenge Team will look like include:

  • Prioritizing new and existing short and long-term rental assistance to provide access to immediate permanent housing for youth living in shelters or on the streets. There would also be assistance available for emergency situations to help young adults retain their current housing.
  • Better coordinating our response to the needs of homeless youth by, for example, immediately identifying “system navigators” and establishing the role of navigators permanently. Navigators would proactively guide youth through the system and resources for housing, rather than youth finding their own way.
  • Creating a service delivery strategy that embraces the idea there is “no wrong door” for youth to access support. For example, if a youth were to report in a counseling center that he or she was in housing crisis, the center would be able to directly connect the youth to housing and services.
  • Acquiring deeper understanding of homeless young adults by increasing outreach and gathering data through a standardized assessment, as well as through ongoing engagement and empowerment of youth who have lived experience of homelessness. Among other things, this will allow us to tailor prevention responses and intervene before a young person becomes homeless.

 

WHAT IS THE 100-DAY CHALLENGE?

A national initiative to end youth homelessness known as A Way Home America recently selected Cleveland, Austin and Los Angeles to launch 100-Day Challenges to advance and inspire work toward the federal goal to end youth homelessness by 2020. The 100‐Day Challenge is an exciting opportunity for the three selected communities to innovate to accelerate their work to prevent and end youth homelessness. Each city sets an ambitious goal to coalesce around and achieve within the 100 days.

When does the 100-Day Challenge start and end?

The 100-Day Challenge begins September 9 and ends December 18.

What is Cleveland’s goal for the 100-Day Challenge?
In 100 days, we will house 100 literally homeless youth (18-24 years old) with a special focus on those with DCFS involvement. Furthermore, we will strengthen the systems we have, so that as of Day 66 (November 16) and forever more, no child will age out into homelessness in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County.

How and why was Cleveland chosen to participate in the 100-Day Challenge?

A Way Home America held a competitive search process to select three sites across the country to participate in the 100-Day Challenge. Cleveland made a strong case for selection through the A Place 4 Me initiative, which is an established coalition with a clear strategic plan to prevent and end youth homelessness in Cuyahoga County. The 100-Day Challenge will connect the Cleveland team to momentum and support to accelerate its work to prevent and end youth homelessness in Cuyahoga County. Coaching and guidance throughout the 100 day journey is led by the Rapid Response Institute, a national nonprofit with experience and results in time-limited initiatives.

WHO IS INVOLVED?

What is A Place 4 Me?

A Place 4 Me is an initiative that harnesses the strengths and resources of more than 30 partners to prevent and end homelessness among young adults age 15 to 24 in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County.

A Place 4 Me is led by a steering committee consisting of YWCA Greater Cleveland; Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services, including the Division of Children and Family Services and the Office of Homeless Services; FrontLine Service; and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative; and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. Together, they work to coordinate the planning and implementation of local efforts to improve outcomes for youth in the areas of housing, employment, education, physical and mental health, and financial stability.

What is A Way Home America?

A Way Home America is a national initiative to build the movement to prevent and end homelessness among young people. It is made up of advocates, researchers, young people, local and state public sector organizations, homeless youth providers and philanthropists uniting behind the federal goal of ending youth homelessness by the end of 2020

What is the Rapid Results Institute?

The Rapid Results Institute (RRI) will be providing coaching and support for the 100-Day Challenge stakeholders. RRI is a nonprofit organization that creates transformative and sustained impact on tough societal challenges. It enables front-line teams to deliver seemingly impossible results, often in 100 days or less.

 

WHY DOES THE 100-DAY CHALLENGE MATTER?

What does the 100-Day Challenge mean for Cleveland?

This challenge is bringing momentum and national expertise to help us do our work better, faster and stronger to prevent and end youth homelessness in Cuyahoga County. We have a comprehensive strategic plan that has captured national attention. Now, through the 100-Day Challenge, we are harnessing the energy, expertise and opportunities to set ambitious goals to accelerate our work and reach those goals in 100 days. This work will not only benefit the community and youth we serve, but also serve as a learning opportunity to be shared across the nation. Through A Way Home America, national partners will be lifting up what the three communities – Cleveland, Austin and Los Angeles – learn through the 100-Day Challenge process, with the hope that other communities across the country can also benefit.

Why are these efforts important for homeless youth?

Youth homelessness is an issue we know we can end and prevent, especially through careful attention to the experiences of our youth who do experience homelessness. The 2015 Cuyahoga County Youth Count revealed that of the youth and young adults ages 15 to 24 identified as homeless or unstably housed: 40% had experience in the foster care system and more than a quarter (27%) had aged out of foster care.

Homeless youth were less likely than youth who have not experienced homelessness to:

  • be living with their children.
  • be in school.
  • be employed.
  • be involved with the juvenile justice system.

How many youth will be helped by the Challenge?

Our goal is to house 100 homeless youth (18-24 years old) within 100 days, with the hope that our work throughout the 100-Day Challenge will create lasting impacts for years to come.

Furthermore, we seek to strengthen prevention efforts. Currently, there are nearly 150 youth who age out of the foster care system locally each year. These children need additional supports and guidance to increase their stability and success. Cleveland’s 100-Day Challenge will strengthen the systems that support youth so that no child aging out of foster care will experience homelessness.

How many homeless youth are currently in Cuyahoga County?

It’s difficult to estimate with certainty the number of homeless youth in our community because they are difficult to reach. Our most recent Youth Count (June 2015) identified 129 homeless and unstably housed youth ages 15 to 24 during a week’s point in time.

 

 

Where can I learn more about the A Place 4 Me and its work to prevent and end youth homelessness in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County?

A Place 4 Me’s strategic plan to prevent and end youth homelessness is posted here.

A Place 4 Me has a special focus on youth aging out of foster care. Why?

Many youth who are part of the foster care system experience housing instability and/or homelessness. A recent report shows that 40% of the homeless youth in Cuyahoga County were part of the foster care system at some point in their lives, and more than one quarter of them had aged out of the foster care system.

Foster care youth were identified as a key area of need in A Place 4 Me’s strategic plan.

There are resources that can be put to use immediately to support youth experiencing homelessness. There is also tremendous support from Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) leadership to work hand in hand with the rest of the community on preventing and ending youth homelessness. With this support, changes to the system can be made immediately in ways that will benefit this population.

How will the 100-Day Challenge be implemented?

Cleveland’s 100‐Day Challenge is coordinated by A Place 4 Me. Our Challenge team, consisting of representatives from 13 organizations, will work toward out goal over the 100 days. Representatives from the following organizations are part of the Challenge Team:

  • A Place 4 Me
  • ADAMHS Board
  • Bellefaire JCB
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Cuyahoga County Jobs and Family Services
  • Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
  • Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services
  • EDEN Inc.
  • FrontLine Service
  • LGBT Community Center
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
  • Two youth leaders from the community who have experienced homelessness
  • YWCA Greater Cleveland

Three individuals will serve as “Challenge Team Sponsors” to be liaisons between the Leadership and the Challenge team and provide support and guidance to the Challenge Team. They include representatives from:

  • EDEN Inc.
  • FrontLine Service
  • Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services

Who is on the Leadership Team and what do they do?

A Leadership Team, comprised of nine organizations, will make decisions about resources and system changes. Organizations include:

  • A Place 4 Me
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation/Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative
  • Cuyahoga Co. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Cuyahoga Co. Division of Children and Family Services
  • Cuyahoga Co. Jobs and Family Services
  • Cuyahoga Co. Office of Homeless Services
  • EDEN Inc.
  • FrontLine Service
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
  • YWCA Greater Cleveland