U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson has announced an additional $1.1 million in funding for HUD's new Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative. Ten housing authorities will receive this funding, continuing HUD's efforts to assist young adults transitioning out of foster care and who are at risk of homelessness. In January, HUD awarded nearly $500,000 to the FYI Initiative and an additional $260,000 in February.
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 conglomeration with local resources, 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.
“The first-ever edition of this program worked so well that further federal support for the Foster Youth to Independence initiative is on its way,” Secretary Carson said. “Since we introduced the FYI program less than a year ago, we’ve been able to help a number of young people aging out of foster care to avoid homelessness, and that’s an achievement we can all be proud of.”
R. Hunter Kurtz, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing added: "We continue to see direct and immediate effects on the lives of young people receiving these vouchers. A home is the foundation for their future growth and success, and I’m pleased HUD is able to support this population of young people in their development.”
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; 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 is precariously housed.