A new federal program designed to help young people who age out of the foster care system could provide housing vouchers to eligible youth in Los Angeles County. The County serves more than 34,000 children and youth, including 2,000 young people in extended foster care who struggle to access stable housing once they leave the child welfare system. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, that directs the County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to participate in this federal program after identifying local housing authorities eligible to receive these vouchers.
“Offering these young people housing will stabilize their lives, enabling them to better focus on school or employment opportunities,” said Supervisor Solis. “Too often, young adults transitioning out of foster care do not have anywhere else to go, and many have already endured significant trauma in their young lives. This vulnerable population may fall through the cracks if we do not provide them with a strong safety net. I am committed to prioritizing the success of these youth as they transition out of foster care.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced the creation of a new federal program called Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative. Through the FYI Initiative, local public housing authorities will be able to offer housing vouchers to young adults under the age of 25 who are about to or have recently left the foster care system and have nowhere to call home.
The FYI Initiative will offer up to 25 housing vouchers per year, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to local public housing authorities that prevent homelessness among young adults who have recently left the foster care system. The FYI Initiative requires that DCFS partner with qualifying local public housing authorities in order to participate in this federal program.
Nearly 4,000 young people are experiencing homelessness, which is a 22 percent increase over the previous year, according to the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. For many of these youth, housing, combined with supportive services, can make the difference between homelessness and long-term success.
“This motion will help foster youth aging out of the system and who are at risk of homelessness to have access to housing assistance vouchers providing them self-sufficiency and needed supports as they enter adulthood,” said Supervisor Barger.
Today’s motion directs LA County’s Office of Homeless Initiative, the Los Angeles County Development Authority, DCFS, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to help identify local public housing authorities eligible to apply for these new HUD housing vouchers.
The motion also directs DCFS to sign a memorandum of understanding with these local public housing authorities after identifying those that are eligible to apply for this program. The Board motion also requires LA County’s CEO to report back to the Board of Supervisors within 90 days with an update.
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