Ending Youth Homelessness Act of 2018
Every night thousands of youth in Maryland go to sleep without the safety, stability, and support of a family or a home. Homelessness jeopardizes their health and well-being, and puts youth at risk of chronic adult homelessness. State investment in housing and supportive services designed for and by youth is critical to ending youth homelessness and ensuring that youth have the stability they need to thrive.
What the Ending Youth Homelessness Act (EYHA) will do:
- Create a state grant program at the Department of Housing and Community Development to fund community-based organizations providing housing and supportive services for unaccompanied homeless youth;
- Fund a continuum of housing and supportive services designed for youth, including outreach, drop-in centers, emergency shelter, time-limited housing, and permanent housing, and require that all grantee programs must provide youth-centered and individualized supportive services;
- Address disproportionate representation of youth of color and LGBTQ youth by focusing on service provider capacity building, performance standards, and equitable outcomes;
- Prioritize youth engagement and leadership by requiring inclusion of youth in grant making and program evaluation activities and supporting youth participation;
- Ensure ongoing, youth-driven data collection by codifying Youth REACH Maryland, the State initiative to identify the causes of youth homelessness and the needs of homeless youth;
- Promote transparency and accountability by requiring an annual report to the legislature.
Why we need the EYHA:
- There are at least 2,425 “unaccompanied homeless youth,” or youth aged 24 and younger who are unstably housed or homeless and not with a parent or guardian, in Maryland according to the 2017 Youth REACH count. LGBTQ youth and youth of color are dramatically overrepresented.
- Existing housing and services for youth are inadequate. Youth homelessness exists in every county in Maryland, yet only three jurisdictions have housing programs designed for homeless youth.
- Unaccompanied homeless youth are forced to stay in unstable and unsafe living situations. Homelessness exposes youth to an increased risk of violence, human trafficking, and exploitation, resulting in a higher incidence of mental and physical health problems, substance abuse, justice system involvement, unemployment, and school dropout. These harms have significant human and economic costs.
What you can do:
- Like and share HPRP Facebook posts to raise awareness about the EYHA or create your own posts using #houseouryouth #endyouthhomelessness
For more information about how you can support the EYHA, please contact:
- Ingrid Lofgren, HPRP, 410-685-6589 ext. 11, firstname.lastname@example.org