HUD Demonstration Extends Length of Housing Vouchers for Former Foster Youth

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A young woman moving into a new apartment.

A number of youth who leave the child welfare system struggle to maintain stable housing as young adults. Some will be homeless for at least one night. To help ease the transition to adulthood, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Family Unification Program and Family Self Sufficiency Demonstration for young adults formerly in foster care. This demonstration project, outlined in a January public notice (PDF, 495KB), aims to test the effectiveness of combining two existing programs—the Family Unification Program (FUP) that issues Housing Choice Vouchers and the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program that provides financial education and case management. Uniting both programs in a single demonstration, HUD says, will enable eligible youth to receive housing vouchers for up to five years compared to 18 months through FUP alone.

As a standalone program, FUP provides a limited number of Housing Choice Vouchers to youth between the ages of 18 and 22 who left foster care at age 16 or older and who lack adequate housing. The vouchers’ 18-month limit for youth creates a number of challenges, HUD says, because the timing conflicts with the requirements often imposed by landlords and schools. For young people who need extra guidance to become self-sufficient, 18 months simply might not be enough time.

HUD’s demonstration extends the typical voucher time limit to match the length of its FSS contracts to public housing authorities, typically five years. FSS teaches young people about financial management and allows them to keep their housing assistance even as their income rises, as long as they keep a job and comply with their lease. FSS participants also work with a case manager to help them meet their goals.

HUD is currently accepting requests for participation in the demonstration from public housing authorities that already administer FUP and FSS programs. Requests will be accepted until July 15. See the HUD notice for complete details (PDF, 495KB).

Learn more about HUD’s FSS Program and the new demonstration.

Read a 2014 report on providing housing for youth aging out of foster care (PDF, 2.3MB).

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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