NEW YORK and SEATTLE, September 12, 2023 --Today, Point Source Youth announced the expansion of a simple, flexible, cost-effective, and youth-driven solution designed to prevent and divert hundreds of young people from experiencing homelessness in five U.S. cities: Atlanta, Austin, Grand Rapids, New York, and Tucson, with additional communities expected to join the work soon. This national initiative builds on early success of a similar model in Washington state and aims to scale Direct Cash Transfers as Prevention (DCT-P) as a new, innovative solution to address the country’s youth homelessness crisis. The initiative is being made possible with funding from the Schultz Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Trinity Church Wall Street, and The NYC Fund to End Youth &Family Homelessness, a program of A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds.
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. At the same time, few, if any, interventions exist in most communities to prevent, not just mitigate, 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 200individuals 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. The program has housed 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.
"We are so excited to have such a huge diversity of communities involved in this kind of radical prevention effort,” said Ashley Barnes-Cocke, Director, Direct Cash Transfers as Prevention at Point Source Youth, “They each bring critical regional expertise that can help us learn about how to scale this intervention to any community across the U.S.”
“Direct cash transfers as prevention means less young people being harmed by the systems that are supposed to protect them,” said Maddox Guerilla, Senior Consultant, Direct Cash Transfers, Point Source Youth. “In order to end youth homelessness we need to invest more in preventing it in the first place.”
"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 from Washington 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 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.
The six community-based organizations receiving funds to scale DCT-P as a part of this national initiative include:
· Youth Empowerment Success Services (YESS) in Atlanta, GA provides youth with affordable and stable housing, practical life skills, and an identifiable support system to propel them toward their future goals. YESS programming offers independent living, life coach and emergency support for former foster youth and episodically homeless youth, and housing assistance and case management for homeless youth.
"Partnering with PSY on this intervention is a thrilling journey towards proactive youth empowerment,” said Ebony Harris, CEO of Youth Empowerment Success Services (YESS). “We're excited because it allows us to harness the power of DCT as Prevention, giving our youth the tools to forge their unique pathways toward their dreams and aspirations. With community support at our side, we are eager to embark on this transformative endeavor, empowering the next generation to shape their own success stories."
· LifeWorks in Austin, TX is a direct service organization and community influencer serving young adults with histories of homelessness, systems involvement (e.g. foster care, juvenile justice), early parenthood, or complex trauma. Through the power of transformative relationships—with the young adults we serve as well as our community partners and funders—LifeWorks helps our clients become advocates for themselves as integrated, integral parts of the community. LifeWorks’ programs focus on housing, counseling, education, and workforce development, considering the specific circumstances, strengths, and needs of the individuals we serve.
“This support from Point Source Youth will connect us to innovative services for young adults who have struggled with homelessness in Austin," said LifeWorks CEO, Susan McDowell. "We applaud this fearless partnership to find creative solutions, like Direct Cash Transfers, for youth and their families."
· As You Are Youth Collective (AYA) in Grand Rapids, MI is a 501(c)(3)organization that supports youth ages 14-24 experiencing instability in achieving their full potential by creating community and belonging. More specifically, AYA facilitates youth development opportunities through low-barrier access to mental health, workforce development, housing, crisis stability, case management support, community referrals, financial literacy training, access to medical and dental care, vital document recovery and much more.
"This is a gamechanger. In a community of our size, with the number of youth sleeping outside, in vehicles, and with kids, this award will truly change lives,” said Li Kaplan from AYA. “These funds are going to allow for quick access to safe and stable housing, without any unrealistic expectations being put on youth who are simply trying to survive and who want stability so they can thrive!"
· The Door in New York City, NY works to empower young people to reach their potential by providing comprehensive youth development services in a diverse and caring environment. The Door serves up to 11,000 young people annually across four New York City locations, including their lower Manhattan and South Bronx youth centers and two supportive housing sites on the Lower East Side. At The Door, youth have access to a suite of co-located, holistic services, including primary and reproductive health care and health education; a continuum of clinical and community-based mental health services; legal representation and assistance; academic and college access services; workforce development programs; runaway and homeless youth drop-in and case management services; supportive housing; visual and performing arts programs; sports and recreational activities; and daily nutritious meals.
“While there are numerous elements of this initiative that resonate with The Door, we are most excited about the strengths-based, flexible funding this program provides to young people,” said Kelsey Louie, Chief Executive Officer of The Door. “This supportive approach allows us to establish a true sense of trust between The Door and its participants, enabling them to use the funding on expenses that are truly beneficial and helpful as they seek to avoid homelessness. It also promotes youth empowerment and autonomy, and supports them in building self-confidence and independence. We applaud Point Source Youth for this youth-driven approach and are excited to take part in this pilot Direct Cash Transfer Program so that we can work towards building a larger sense of trust-based support within our community and prevent youth from entering the homelessness system.”
· Henry Street Settlement in New York City, NY opens doors of opportunity for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through social services, arts, and health care programs. Serving people through employment, education, older adult services, health & wellness, transitional& supportive housing, and the arts, Henry Street offers extensive youth-development programming, including afterschool, school- and community-based mental health services, athletics and enrichment, college preparation, job training, and career readiness for low-income youth.
“Henry Street Settlement is proud to be a partner in the national launch of Point Source Youth’s visionary Direct Cash Transfers as Prevention program to prevent youth homelessness,” said David Garza, Henry Street president and CEO. “Like so many of our partners, Henry Street Settlement has seen a notable increase in youth housing instability, particularly among young people of color, resulting from eviction, family dissolution during Covid, mental health struggles, skyrocketing real estate costs, and more. Because safe, stable housing is a precursor for stability in all areas of life, we know that cash support, backed by opportunities for counseling, education, and workforce support, can make the difference for many young people facing homelessness.”
· Youth On Their Own (YOTO) supports the high school graduation and continued success of youth experiencing homelessness in Tucson/Pima County, Arizona. Each year, YOTO serves approximately 1,500 young people, and since its founding in 1986 has helped tens of thousands of local youth stay in school and graduate. After graduation, YOTO’s Alumni Program continues to support program graduates for up to four years, helping them gain stability as they transition to the next phase of their lives. Through the DCT-P pilot, YOTO hopes to learn more about how direct cash transfers can help alumni youth obtain a faster path out of housing instability. The cash-plus model will allow YOTO to learn more about what youth truly need, create new partnerships for unmet needs, and strengthen existing partnerships for common themes of needed support.
“Youth On Their Own has nearly 40 years of longevity and trust in serving our local community’s youth experiencing housing insecurity," said YOTO’s CEO Elizabeth Slater. “We are incredibly proud to partner with Point Source Youth to try a new, evidence-based strategy to help lift young people out of poverty. We look forward to learning with and from PSY and our program graduates about how we can best support their long-term housing stability and continued success!”
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’s mission is to create greater opportunity, accessible to all. Our work is deeply rooted in the lives and values of our co-founders, Sheri and Howard Schultz, who believe talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. We seek to apply the lessons they have learned over the decades to seed innovations and scale solutions to help young people successfully navigate the transition to adulthood and positively impact the trajectory of their lives. We are investors in unleashing potential and unlocking opportunity, working in partnership with employers, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and governments that share our aspiration of enabling everyone to access the full promise of America. Learn more at: www.schultzfamilyfoundation.org
About Raikes Foundation
At the Raikes Foundation, we believe that when we work together and center the voices of young people, we can build a fair society for all. Our goal is to bring people together to break down barriers that prevent communities from thriving and to support solutions that allow all of us to determine a fair and just future for America. We make grants in four core areas: education, housing stability for youth, racial equity and democracy, and impact-driven philanthropy. Through our grants, we seek to redefine financial impact, support individuals, and promote community agency and solutions to build a more just and inclusive society where all young people have the support they need to achieve their full potential. To learn more about our work,visit https://raikesfoundation.org
About Trinity Church Wall Street
Trinity Church Wall Street is a vibrant and growing Episcopal parish of more than 1,600 members. Over the past 325 years, Trinity has been guided by its mission to share God’s love for all people. Trinity’s programs seek to offer shared encounters with the holy, to cultivate compassion, to deepen knowledge and spiritual practices, to work for justice rooted in essential human dignity, to provide places of solace and healing, and to inspire a desire in all people to be conscientious contributors to the life of New York City and the world. More than 20 worship services are offered every week online and at historic Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel, the cornerstones of the parish’s community life, worship, and mission.
About The NYC Fund to End Youth & Family Homelessness, a program of FJC - A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds
The NYC Fund to End Youth & Family Homelessness, a program of FJC - A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, uses its resources and influence to transform New York City’s homelessness systems. The Fund seeks to end the homelessness crisis, not simply manage it, by supporting innovative, evidence-based approaches that help youth and families facing housing instability keep their homes or move quickly into a new permanent home that is safe, stable, and affordable. FJC –A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds is a boutique public charity that offers a diverse menu of philanthropic services to a range of stakeholders. With over $380 million under management, its over 1,000 accounts include Donor Advised Funds (DAFs), fiscal sponsorships, collective giving accounts, and many other philanthropic vehicles. FJC acts as an intermediary between the financial services sector and the nonprofit sector, enabling nonprofit organizations and their supporters to focus on their missions rather than be burdened with the details of operations and compliance.