Portsmouth RHA announces 'Foster Youth to Independence' initiative; helping prevent homelessness after foster care

Posted at 4:57 AM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 05:02:31-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The 'Foster Youth to Independence Initiative' was announced by the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority on Wednesday.

This new program targets vulnerable young adults who have aged-out of the foster care system.

With a funding grant of $113,170, 14 young people in Portsmouth who are aging out of foster care and are at risk of experiencing homelessness will be provided housing assistance.

Local resource providers will assist communities in ensuring that every young person who has had experience with the child welfare system has access to safe, affordable housing where they are supported to reach self-sufficiency by working toward their education and employment goals.

Locally, the Portsmouth Department of Social Services under the direction of Pamela Little-Hill, will announce the youth eligible for the housing assistance. Additional support is available from the Portsmouth Homeless Action Consortium Continuum of Care, the collective of area agencies working to end homelessness.

These tenant-protection vouchers available through FYI will go to public housing authorities that do not participate in HUD’s Family Unification Program. The public housing authorities must:

  • Administer a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program;
  • Enter into a partnership agreement with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA)
  • Accept young people referred by their partnering PCWA
  • Determine that the referred youth are eligible for HCV assistance.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 20,000 young people age out of foster care each year. The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare estimates that approximately 25 percent of these young people experience homelessness within four years of leaving foster care and an even higher share are precariously housed.