(Foto: Ilustrativa/Pexels)

Philadelphia – Philadelphia announced  that it will receive $735,000 in federal funding from a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant. The award comes from the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative (FYI). The program invests in local, cross-system collaborative efforts to assist young people aging out of foster care and who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), Department of Human Services (DHS), and Office of Homeless Services (OHS) will work in partnership to administer the program. The funding will provide 75 housing vouchers, available as early as December 1, 2021. The vouchers will cover a maximum of 36 months of rental assistance.

Additionally, youth will be connected to services to support their path to self-sufficiency through community-based organization, Methodist Services. This includes mental and behavioral health services, money management, job preparation, and educational counseling. Supportive housing services include landlord outreach, pre- and post-move counseling, and lease compliance.

Partnership among City agencies and the federal government reinforces the City’s commitment to expand housing opportunities for vulnerable communities

All eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:

•             A youth must have lived experience in the child welfare system at 16 or older.

•             Youth who left foster care, or will leave foster care within 90 days, in accordance with a transition plan described in Section 475(5)(H) of the Social Security Act.

•             A youth must be between the ages of 18-24.

•             A youth must be homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Advocates and providers who work with young adults who meet the criteria can make referrals by emailing the youth’s name, DHS Number, and contact information to DHS_Housing@phila.gov. Any eligible youth on PHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List will be assisted in order of their position on the waiting list.

I believe that every youth in this City deserves a home so they can have a promising future. It is much harder to start a job, career, or perform well in school when you don’t have a safe, stable place to sleep at night. I am thankful for these vouchers and excited about the lives that will change.  We  truly are opening  doors for opportunities. PHA President & CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah

No young person who grows up in foster care should later experience homelessness. As youth transition to adulthood and independent life, securing stable housing can be an obstacle. It is vital that we put these vouchers to the best use. And we’re excited that we now have an opportunity to expand housing support for youth. Knowing that we can help young people participate fully in college and career opportunities, without the worry of housing insecurities, is an achievement we can all be proud of. DHS Commissioner Kimberly Ali

The vouchers are miraculous and fantastic. And they will make a difference in so many young lives, particularly those at-risk for homelessness. It’s still a difficult time for many of our vulnerable neighbors, especially young people of color who have been hit hard by the challenges created by COVID-19. We’re grateful to be able to do more to help meet these urgent community needs. OHS Director Liz Hersh

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