Demonstration Project Supports Transitional Living Programs Working with LGBTQ Youth, Young Adults Who Left Foster Care After Age 18
The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) has released a new funding opportunity announcement to support runaway and homeless youth programs serving two distinct groups of young people in need of tailored services—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth and those who have left foster care after age 18. The demonstration project, announced June 2, seeks to support promising strategies for helping homeless youth transition to self-sufficient adults. Applicants may serve either or both of the project’s target populations based on an assessment of their community’s needs.
The decision to dedicate resources to LGBTQ youth and those leaving foster care as young adults arose from feedback gathered from transitional living programs across the country, as well as emerging research, says Program Specialist Niki Lee. Focus groups conducted for the FYSB-funded 3/40 BLUEPRINT project found that some LGBTQ youth were choosing to live on the streets instead of staying at local youth shelters where they didn't feel comfortable.
Supporting programs as they test approaches for serving target populations “provides extra supports to groups that need additional measures to get the help they’re entitled to,” Lee says.
FYSB expects to award eight cooperative agreements following the August 1 deadline of up to $625,000 each. Awards will be split across a 24-month project period, and grantees must provide at least 10% of the total approved project cost. Priority will be given to applicants who have experience working with runaway and homeless youth, as required by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.
The demonstration project and its associated funding opportunity announcement include guidance provided by the Children’s Bureau, FYSB’s sister agency within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Emphasizing the connection between homelessness and time in foster care underscores both bureaus' understanding of young people's experiences and a shared commitment to ongoing partnership, says Program Specialist Angie Webley.
“What makes this project unique is that we’re collaborating with the Children’s Bureau to focus on these specific populations and to support new accomplishments [in the field],” Webley says. “We’re working together toward identifying intervention strategies that help young people gain self-sufficiency and prevent homelessness.”