All Youth Deserve a Home
This week, members of Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy group, Advocates Transforming Youth Systems (ATYS), partnered with coalition Philly Homes 4 Youth in holding a town hall in the courtyard of Philadelphia’s City Hall to raise awareness about the unique needs of older youth facing housing insecurity-- particularly youth aging out of the foster care system.
Along with over 60 Philadelphia residents, ATYS members shared recommendations to Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and other city officials on how to ease the strain put on youth and their families especially during the global pandemic, with a focus on how to prevent youth homelessness.
Youth homelessness and housing insecurity is a crisis in Philadelphia, and this crisis has only worsened during the pandemic.
This crisis has impacted Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ youth the hardest. Data shows that youth between ages 18 and 24 make up at least 9% of the homeless population that receives services or has been connected to OHS. However, other data suggests that this number is significantly underestimated, and that many more youth are experiencing homelessness who have not been counted by OHS.
ATYS had several demands for OHS and city officials, who are set to determine how $42 million in American Rescue Plan funds for homelessness prevention in Philadelphia will be allocated:
Producing and preserving more Affordable Housing;
Using a portion of Tenant-Based Rental Assistance to ensure youth and their families, if needed, can receive financial assistance for things like rent and utilities;
Increasing supportive services, including services for homeless prevention like housing counseling, life skills trainings, and health services;
Purchase and developing Non-Congregate Shelter: These structures can remain in use as non-congregate shelter or can be converted to: 1) emergency shelter 2) permanent housing or 3) affordable housing
ATYS and our allies will continue to push to make sure those in power keep youth safely housed, but we could use your help to do this critical advocacy work.
Help us ensure young people have a seat at the table and that their voices are heard!