Nebraska Team Awarded $1.3M to Improve Youth Homelessness Service System

 Youth Homelessness System Improvement grant

On June 6, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded a $1,300,937 Youth Homelessness System Improvement grant to UNL's Center on Children, Families, and the Law, the lead agency in a statewide partnership.

UNL-CCFL is honored to have the opportunity to build and lead an incredible coalition of statewide partners that includes the Nebraska Balance of State, City of Lincoln, and Threshold Continuums of Care; Nebraska Youth Action Boards; Ponca Tribe of Nebraska; Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska; Dakota County; Nebraska Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; Nebraska Department of Education; Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services; State of Nebraska Juvenile Probation Services Division; City of Lincoln; Civic Nebraska; and Housing Innovations Inc.

"The goal of Youth Homelessness System Improvement grants is to create a more seamless and coordinated system of care for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness." HUD states. "These grants aim to improve the identification of youth in need and make it easier for them to navigate available services."

The coalition will use the Youth Homelessness System Improvement grant to focus on systemic change by building capacity for Youth Action Boards, collecting data from youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness, developing strong leaders within a community, and improving the coordination, communication, operation, and administration of homelessness assistance projects that serve youth, including prevention and diversion strategies.

The aim will be to empower youth with lived experience to use their expertise to improve the youth homelessness service system. The collaborative 30-month project will facilitate the first Youth Action Board specifically for Tribal youth and coordinate a single statewide Youth Action Board to speak with youth voice to statewide systems and challenges.

The new YHSI grant is in addition to the current Youth Homelessness Demonstration Programs led by UNL-CCFL's Community Services Division for the Nebraska Balance of State and City of Lincoln Continuums of Care since 2018. With this additional funding, Nebraska will significantly enhance and broaden youth homelessness prevention efforts across the state.

Once housed, youth are empowered to focus on education and employment opportunities, establish permanent connections, and improve their social-emotional well-being. The Nebraska Youth Homelessness System Improvement project begins summer of 2024.