SPOTLIGHT:

 

The Cape and Islands Youth Action Board (YAB) is dedicated to amplifying the voices of youth and young adults who have faced or are currently experiencing homelessness or housing instability on the Cape and Islands. Committed to community and educational outreach, implementing special projects, advocating for change, and expanding our reach, we strive to create positive change for young adults across Cape Cod and the Islands.

https://www.capeandislandsyab.com/

Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program

The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) is an initiative of  the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through its Continuum of Care programs designed to reduce the number of Youth and Young Adults (YYA) experiencing homelessness.

The goal of the YHDP is to support selected communities in the development and implementation of a coordinated community approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness. Securing funding for this Demonstration Program was highly competitive, and Cape Cod and the Islands were one of 17 communities across the country selected in 2022 and was awarded $1,357,000.

As a recipient of YHDP funding, the Cape and Islands developed a Coordinated Community Plan Hopeful Homes: Sea Change for the Cape and Islands Youth and Young Adults which serves as our community’s blueprint for preventing and ending youth homelessness. The CCP is the result of a comprehensive planning process that brought together diverse stakeholders to develop a coordinated community response to youth homelessness.

Funds awarded through YHDP will support four projects prioritized by YYA with lived experience of housing instability- Homeless Prevention Council’s Mobile Support and Resource Navigation programs and the Barnstable County Department of Human Services YYA Coordinated Entry and Planning programs. Funds for these projects will be annualized and included in Continuum of Care funding after the demonstration.

If you would like more information on our community’s efforts to address and end YYA homelessness, please contact Dan Gray at daniel.gray@capecod.gov.

Community Needs Assessment Update

The Barnstable County Dept. of Human Services, in conjunction with Matthew Aronson Consulting, has completed a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) Update building on the assessment completed in September 2019. The CNA Update reviews the key findings and recommendations from the 2019 CNA and provides information on the services and resources available to Youth and Young Adults (YYA) experiencing housing instability across the region, including new initiatives. The update also provides data on the prevalence and characteristics of Unaccompanied Homeless YYA as partner agencies expand engagement through community collaboration.

In addition to the CNA Update, the Regional Network on Homelessness Youth Action Board and the YYA Homelessness Committee have developed prioritized strategies for 2022-2023 to continue the work of addressing and ending YYA Homelessness on the Cape and Islands. The CNA update and the Prioritized Strategies can be viewed here:

 

Background

The Massachusetts Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth was established in 2013 to study and make recommendations regarding unaccompanied homeless Youth and Young Adults (YYA). The commission released the Massachusetts State Plan to End Youth Homelessness which envisions a “a system in which every community in the Commonwealth has coordinated, developmentally appropriate, and trauma-informed resources that are effective, regionally accessible, and reliably funded.” The Executive Office of Health and Human Services allocated funds to youth serving agencies and their partners ensuring statewide coverage in ten regions which supports housing and services for YYA who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Additional state wide needs analysis can be found here: Furthering the Work of the MA State Plan to End Youth Homelessness: A state-level analysis of Community Needs Assessments from the ten EOHHS Homeless Youth Program Regions

In 2018, the Barnstable County Department of Human Services (BCDHS) was awarded funding to lead the efforts on the Cape and Islands to enact the recommendations of the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. BCDHS identified five partner agencies- Housing Assistance Corporation, Homeless Prevention Council, Champ Homes, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and Fairwinds Nantucket Counseling- to deliver services and resources to the community.

The partners work to identify and engage YYA experiencing housing instability, utilize flexible funds to ensure their basic needs are met and establish a trusting relationship that fosters connections to housing opportunities, access to physical and behavioral healthcare and long- term case management services to help with sustaining housing solutions.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth and Young Adult Service Providers

Community Needs Assessment

Between February and June 2019 the Barnstable County Department of Human Services, with Matthew Aronson Consulting, conducted a Youth and Young Adult (YYA) Homelessness Community Needs Assessment to explore the homelessness system and individual needs of YYA on Cape Cod and the Islands.  Community members, service partners, and YYA with lived experience provided input via interviews, focus groups, and surveys on prevention and intervention services and resources for those currently experiencing homelessness.  The assessment investigated the experiences of a number of sub-populations including individuals under the age of 18, and between the ages of 18 and 24 (both parenting and unaccompanied) and considered the issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity to understand YYA needs related to stable housing, education, employment, health and wellbeing, and permanent connections.

Contact

For more information, contact Dan Gray, Continuum of Care Program Manager at Barnstable County Department of Human Services at 774-224-0051 or daniel.gray@capecod.gov