County Successfully Houses 52 Homeless Youth
Source: County of Santa Barbara
On Monday, June 29, the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care and 20 local stakeholders launched a. A 100-Day Challenge is an on-ramp to the movement to prevent and end homelessness among youth and young adults in the United States.
Santa Barbara County established a 100-day goal to achieve the following:
- House 50 youth
- Assign a navigator to 100 percent of youth identified on a real-time list of all people experiencing homelessness
- 75 percent of youth accept case management with an individual service and housing retention plan
One youth surveyed during the challenge shared, “My life has always felt unstable. I've seen my loved ones being abused every day, and having no one to talk or listen to me was so hard. I have people who love and support me now, and I want to make them proud and myself proud, and live up to what I know I can become. I overcame so much and I'm not stopping now."
“Because of the new relationships built during the 100-Day Challenge, we can now house our youth more quickly,” said team sponsor Elizabeth Adams, J.D., SBCEO Transitional Youth Services Program Manager. “With the second highest percent of homeless students in the state, it is important that we come together as a community to support them.”
At Day 100, the team successfully met – and surpassed – its goals:
- 52 youth connected to safe and stable housing
- 100 percent assigned a housing navigator
- 100 percent of youth housed with a housing intervention have an individual service and housing retention plan
“This challenge allowed us to collaborate and work with great agencies that we will be able to continue working with in an effort to help our most vulnerable youth,” said April Ramos, Program Specialist at Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley. “We also made our community aware that youth homelessness is real and we all can help in different ways.”
Following the 100-Day Challenge, team members debriefed to share their experiences and reflect on additional outcomes, such as opportunities to work across sectors and establish new partnerships, development of landlord engagement tools, and a service provider training highlighting resource guides.
The team also identified roadblocks and barriers to overcome, including balancing regular job responsibilities with additional duties for the Challenge, limitations to in-person outreach and engagement with youth and colleagues, managing information sharing, and the need for additional landlords and housing units.
To preserve the gains made during the 100 days and maintain momentum around preventing and ending youth homelessness, the team plans to build a Youth Action Board (YAB) to generate awareness around the unique issues and challenges that face runaway, homeless, and foster youth and young adults. The YAB will bring together innovative and motivated youth age 18-24 with lived-experience throughout the county to develop initiatives to enhance access to resources and information; develop secure, stable, and supportive networks; and improve access to affordable housing, food and education for youth at risk or experiencing homelessness.
The YAB will provide the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care (CoC) with guidance on policies and develop initiatives to ensure Santa Barbara County is prioritizing long-term self-sufficiency, health and wellbeing of our community’s young adults. Interested parties should complete this membership agreement form.
"The 100-day youth challenge was a great example of how stakeholders across the county are very passionate about helping homeless youth in need,” said team member Shana M. Pompa, MS, MFT, Programs Director at Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley. “It also shows how it takes a village to address homelessness in our community and it's our continuous collaborative partnerships that will make the biggest impact in reducing, and maybe one day eliminating, youth homelessness in our county.”
Rapid Results Institute partnered with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and HomeBase to launch 100-Day Challenges with communities across the country. So far, 40 communities have completed the 100-Day Challenge to prevent and end youth homelessness - resulting in 3,633 youth and young adults safely and stably housed.
For more information about the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care, visit http://countyofsb.org/housing/homlessassistance/get-involved.sbc