|HUD R3 No. 20-16
Lisa A. Wolfe
February 12, 2020
HUD MID-ATLANTIC REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR ANNOUNCES FOSTER YOUTH TO INDEPENDENCE INITIATIVE IN PORTSMOUTH
PORTSMOUTH, VA - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Joseph J. DeFelice joined Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority (PRHA) Executive Director Edward Bland and local partners to announce a special new initiative, the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative, targeting vulnerable young adults who have aged-out of the foster care system.
Today's announcement included a "big check" for $113,170. The funding will provide housing assistance for 14 young people in Portsmouth who are aging out of foster care and are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
HUD's Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative provides housing assistance and supportive services to young people with a child welfare history who are at-risk-of or experiencing homelessness. FYI, in conjunction with local resource providers, will assist communities in ensuring that every young person who has had experience with the child welfare system has access to safe, affordable housing where they are supported to reach self-sufficiency by working toward their education and employment goals.
"No young person who grows up in foster care should experience homelessness through no fault of their own," said DeFelice. "The foundation of a stable life is stable housing and this initiative will allow local housing authorities, working child welfare agencies and homeless planners, to focus this housing assistance to those young people who need it most."
"This is the third award of vouchers in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as the third award in the Tidewater area of Virginia," DeFelice added. "That says a lot about the focus of area agencies assisting youth who are exiting foster care—they understand the importance housing plays in getting a good start in life."
Christopher Patterson, Regional Administrator for HUD's Pacific region (Region IX), participated in the announcement. In July 2019, HUD Secretary Ben Carson appointed Patterson as HUD's national lead for the FYI Initiative.
"As a former foster care youth myself, having a safe and stable home made all the difference in my life," said Patterson. "Our young people are our future, and this investment assures that those in your community who age out of foster care into this program, will have a brighter future to look forward to."
Locally, the Portsmouth Department of Social Services under the direction of Pamela Little-Hill, will identify the youth eligible for the housing assistance. Additional support is available from the Portsmouth Homeless Action Consortium Continuum of Care (CoC), the collective of area agencies working to end homelessness. Ms. Darlene Sparks Washington, who serves as executive director of the Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless, represented the CoC at today's event. Both entities will work in concert with PRHA to administer the FYI program and to support the youth involved.
"We are pleased to launch the Foster Youth to Independence initiative -- a collaborative effort to combat youth homelessness by targeting housing assistance to young people leaving foster care," stated PRHA Executive Director Ed Bland. "This initiative allows local public housing authorities - like the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority - to request tenant protection vouchers for young adults who have recently left foster care without a home to go to. With our local partners, we can provide young people with the tools and support services they need to become self-sufficient. A win-win for all."
These tenant-protection vouchers available through FYI will go to public housing authorities that do not participate in HUD's Family Unification Program. The public housing authorities must:
- Administer a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program;
- Enter into a partnership agreement with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);
- Accept young people referred by their partnering PCWA; and
- Determine that the referred youth are eligible for HCV assistance.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that more than 20,000 young people age out of foster care each year. The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW) estimates that approximately 25 percent of these young people experience homelessness within four years of leaving foster care and an even higher share are precariously housed.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. The Department's Mid-Atlantic region includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. The regional office is in Philadelphia. Follow Regional Administrator Joe DeFelice on Twitter.
More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov and www.espanol.hud.gov. Connect with HUD on social media or sign up for news alerts via HUD's email list. Follow Secretary Carson on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.