CHESAPEAKE, Va. — U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson on Tuesday awarded over $234,000 to the Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority to assist young people aging out of foster care and who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than 20,000 young people age out of foster care each year. The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare 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.
Funding is being given through HUD's new Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative. The funding is expected to offer housing vouchers to local public housing authorities to prevent or end homelessness among young adults under the age of 25 who are, or have recently left, the foster care system without a home to go to.
The FYI program requires that communities provide supportive services to help youth achieve self-sufficiency. These activities center around basic life skills, landlord outreach, and job preparation. On top of that, the young people will be able to receive educational and career counseling as well as counseling on program and lease compliance.
“HUD wants to lend a helping hand to young people by ensuring they have a smooth transition when leaving the foster care system to branch out on their own,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “With assistance from local housing authorities, today’s funding helps keep young people off the streets and prevents them from becoming homeless and gives them the tools they need for a new beginning.”
These tenant-protection vouchers 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;
- Determine that the referred youth are eligible for HCV assistance