Youth Demonstration Program
In July 2018, the Snohomish County Continuum of Care (CoC) was selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to participate in the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). Snohomish County is one of eleven communities across the country engaged in this multi-year effort to effectively build systems and create innovative projects which prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness.
Through this community planning process, the Snohomish County Coordinated Community Plan was developed to provide a guide for our community’s efforts to prevent and end youth and young adult (YYA) homelessness. The YHDP Team worked closely with community stakeholders, the Youth Action Committee (YAC), and the Youth Homelessness Initiative Committee (YHIC) to develop projects which address the unique needs of YYA in our community. Projects will target identified gaps in our community’s homeless response system and incorporate YYA involvement at every stage.
All proposed projects under YHDP will incorporate the following the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) four core outcomes:
- Creating access to stable housing,
- Creating avenues of employment and education,
- Providing permanent connections, and
- Offering interventions to promote social and emotional well-being.
In addition, all proposed projects will also align with the USICH Criteria and Benchmarks for Achieving the Goal of Ending Youth Homelessness through the following key principles:
- Meeting the needs of special populations, including YYA who are of color, pregnant or parenting, identify as LGBTQ, victims of sexual trafficking and exploitation, or have been involved with juvenile justice, jail, or foster care.
- Incorporating Positive YYA Development, Trauma-Informed Care, and Family Engagement practices into the system
- Ensuring immediate access to housing with no preconditions
- Including YYA choice in all aspects of the system
- Ensuring YYA will have access to individualized, tailored housing and services supports that meet their needs
- Supporting social and community integration, and
- Ensuring a YYA appropriate Coordinated Entry system
YHDP Funded Projects
The community planning process provided a venue for community stakeholders and YYA to contribute to the development of the projects selected to receive YHDP funding. The following projects were selected for YHDP funding:
Permanency Navigator Team: This project will provide a team of mobile permanency navigators that will work with youth under 18 years of age to identify community resources and secure safe, viable housing options. This team will provide consistent support to youth regardless of which homeless response system services they are enrolled in, therefore building important relationships and continuity for the youth.
Joint Transitional-Rapid Rehousing: This project highlights a new housing model, which allows for both short-term crisis stability and long-term permanent housing placements by using two existing homeless housing interventions, transitional housing (TH) and rapid rehousing (RRH).
The crisis housing may be provided either through master leased units, scattered site rental units, or host homes, based on availability and participant choice. This will allow additional flexibility and supports for specialized populations (e.g. youth of color, LGBTQIA, etc.) and those young adults from more rural communities. The RRH component will provide housing search and short- and medium-term rental assistance to move homeless young adults as rapidly as possible into permanent housing. This Joint TH-RRH project will utilize Housing First practices and incorporate youth-choice during placement and participation of all program components and services. Supportive services connected to both the TH and RRH components will include housing stability services, education and employment services (dedicated staff), life skills trainings, and opportunities to develop permanent connections for improved social and emotional well-being.
Youth Action Committee
The role of youth and young adults is critical in the planning and implementation process for YHDP fundable projects. The YAC is comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds and lived experience with housing instability or homelessness. They represent a broad range of youth and young adults, including YYA living in more rural parts of the County. The YAC provided insight and expertise in the CCP planning process by generating ideas for system innovation; developed strategies and action steps to reach our goals; and incorporated YYA specific needs into YHDP projects.
The YAC is also responsible for the following ongoing activities:
- Support the implementation of continuous quality improvement (including the review of the quarterly data dashboard reporting), track progress on implementation of projects, and assess the impact/outcomes of projects
- Provide youth and young adult specific technical assistance and identify areas for improvement; making recommendations for refinement, adjustments, and course correction
- Coordinate with relevant PEH committees/work groups as applicable
- Participate in the review and propose updates to the CCP on an annual basis, or as needed
Youth Homelessness Initiative Committee
The YHIC is comprised of key community partners, including representatives from the Partnership to End Homelessness (PEH), the YAC, the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF), juvenile justice, public education, health care, direct service providers, funders, and local government.
The YHIC met regularly during the development of the CCP and will continue to provide ongoing oversight and accountability of the CCP implementation by:
- Evaluation of quarterly data dashboard reporting
- Tracking the progress of YHDP project implementation, including project outcomes
- Incorporating authentic collaboration with the YAC to ensure youth voice in the implementation of the CCP
- Identifying areas for improvement; making recommendations for refinement, adjustments, and course correction
- Coordination with other community committees and systems that intersect with the CCP
- Coordination with relevant PEH committees/work groups as applicable
- Participation in updates to the CCP on an annual basis, or as needed