A new program from the University of Nebraska seeks to drastically reduce youth homelessness in the state; aided by a multi-million-dollar grant from a federal agency.
Led by the university’s Center on Children, Families and the Law, the Connected Youth Initiative will seek to reduce homelessness among young adults ages 18 to 24.
Project Director Jeff Chambers with the university says the project will explore many different avenues to accomplish its goal, such as better integrating state agencies to support homeless youths.
“We want to tie in, you know, the juvenile courts and probation, we want to tie in child welfare, and make sure the folks exiting those systems are in a good place moving forward so they’re not at risk for homelessness.” Chambers tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Additionally, Chambers says project members will try to find support programs from across the country and implement those they think will help best address youth homelessness.
The Connected Youth Initiative is funded through a $3.2 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Youth Homeless Demonstration program. Chambers says Nebraska was selected as a recipient of the grant even though youth homelessness isn’t a big problem in the state.
“In fact, it’s quite the opposite.” according the Chambers, who says recent reports indicate there isn’t a substantial youth homelessness problem.
He believes Nebraska was selected, because of its track record of working with partners and putting in place systems and solutions to solve unique problems.
Chambers points to the Nebraska’s Continuum of care as an example.
Nebraska’s Continuum of Care is one of very few to receive recognition from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness for eliminating U.S military veteran homelessness in the state.
The University’s Center on Children, Families and the Law will partner with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and the Nebraska Balance of State Continuum of Care on the initiative.