NEW YORK and SEATTLE, June 20, 2023 -- Today Point Source Youth launched an initiative to scale a simple, flexible, cost-effective and youth-driven solution to prevent and divert youth homelessness in five communities around the country, including New York City and San Francisco. The program builds on early success of a similar model in Washington state and will offer Direct Cash Transfers as Prevention (DCT-P) to hundreds of young people in partnership with seven lead organizations. The initiative is being made possible with funding from the Schultz Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Trinity Wall Street, and The NYC Fund to End Youth & Family Homelessness.
Across the United States, unaccompanied youth homelessness is far too common. According to research by Chapin Hall, an estimated 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness, with youth who identify as BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ experiencing the highest rates of homelessness. Further, evidence suggests that young people who are doubled-up, couch-surfing and unstably housed face similar outcomes to their peers experiencing literal homelessness. At the same time, few, if any, interventions exist in most communities to prevent youth and young adult homelessness.
Point Source Youth (PSY), with partners across the U.S., have generated a growing body of evidence and practice knowledge on effectively implementing Direct Cash Transfer interventions with young people. Building on the incredibly successful Homeless Prevention and Diversion Fund (HPDF) model developed by A Way Home Washington, PSY is scaling the model of using Direct Cash Transfers as a homelessness prevention intervention for young people.
A Way Home Washington launched a similar program in several counties in Washington state in August 2020, certifying more than 200 individuals and non-profits to access the fund, creating a "no wrong door' culture for young people most at risk. To date, it has helped nearly 1,000 young people access stable housing, housing more young people than any other housing program in each county where it is operational. After receiving the one-time payments ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, 93% percent of these young people did not return to homelessness after 12 months.
"This pilot is designed to test and improve upon community models for supporting young people to thrive in safe, stable housing without needing to enter the homelessness system in the first place," said Larry Cohen, co-founder and executive director of Point Source Youth. "We know that by trusting young people, removing financial barriers to housing, and offering supportive services before becoming unhoused, we will see young people avoid homelessness and stay housed over the long term."
"We have seen incredible early success in Washington state demonstrating that one-time direct cash payments can be a powerful, youth-centric solution to prevent young people from experiencing homelessness," said Marie Groark, managing director of special initiatives at the Schultz Family Foundation. "By expanding this pilot to five additional communities in partnership with Point Source Youth, we are hoping to gather data and learnings that will make a convincing case for more public funding of DCT-P as a cost-effective and efficacious tool that can help prevent youth homelessness."
"In addition to being a youth driven prevention solution, the HPDF also has a strong justice component, as more than half of the young people who received these funds were young people of color, and we know they are disproportionally represented in homelessness," said Julie Patiño, executive director of A Way Home Washington.
The technical assistance provided by PSY will center not only on implementing effective, youth-driven prevention practices, but on building local public will for communities to center prevention in their homelessness systems and plan for the sustainability of this intervention beyond the term of the pilot.
Community-based organizations interested in participating in the program can respond to the Request for Proposals here. Applications will be evaluated over the next few weeks and selected by the end of the summer.
About Point Source Youth
Point Source Youth (PSY) works with communities large and small, alongside local youth advocates to ensure that experiences of youth homelessness are rare, brief, and non-recurring. The PSY team advances affirming, data-backed solutions such as rapid re-housing, host homes, and direct cash transfers that place power and resources directly in the hands of youth experiencing homelessness—with a focus on QTBIPOC youth who are disproportionately impacted.
About the Schultz Family Foundation
The Schultz Family Foundation, established in 1996 by Sheri and Howard Schultz, creates pathways of opportunity for populations facing barriers to success, focusing on youth transitioning to adulthood and marginalized populations, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. By investing in scalable solutions and partnerships in communities across the country, the Foundation aims to help tackle the barriers and roadblocks that prevent individuals from reaching their full potential and, in doing so, strengthen our communities and our nation. For more information about the Foundation and its work: www.schultzfamilyfoundation.org.