A Solution for Young Adults Exiting Foster Care: Foster Youth to Independence

[Young girl sitting on the ground]

The San Juan Field Office recently held their first virtual Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) webinar. This Secretarial Initiative provides Housing Choice Vouchers and supportive services to young adults ages 18-24 exiting foster care and at risk of homelessness. In participating communities, public housing authorities, continuums of care and other stakeholders work as a team to help the youth towards self-sufficiency. The webinar for of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands stakeholders aimed to increase awareness of the initiative.

HUD Puerto Rico Field Office Director Efrain Maldonado welcomed participants and introduced Southeast Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett who has held several awareness calls around the region to increase participation of local stakeholders to this transformational program. Administrator Cleveland-Leggett then presented Region IX Administrator Christopher Patterson. As a former foster youth, and national lead for the initiative, Patterson shared his story and spoke about the importance of this initiative to the lives of these young people.

Lanita Jones, regional Public Housing point of contact for the Foster Youth initiative, presented an overview of the program. The HUD Alabama team and stakeholders shared their experience with the administration of the FYI voucher. They highlighted the importance of not only planning and communicating throughout the process of implementation, but also celebrating every voucher, since that is one less foster youth worrying about where they might sleep next. The virtual event had an attendance of 62 participants, including public housing authorities and continuum of care organizations from both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Three housing authorities expressed their interest in applying for the Foster Youth Initiative by the end of the virtual event.


Content Archived: January 31, 2022