Faye and Tiara are former foster youth, living alone at the intersection of childhood and adulthood without the support of family. These young women both work full-time and attend college part-time. Faye just moved into her own apartment which she rents with some help from HUD’s Section 8 Program. Tiara, despite working as a case manager to help differently abled adults live independently in their own apartments, lives in a homeless shelter for single women. Tiara is homeless because she happened to age out of foster care in a community that does not offer the same resources available to Faye.
The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (NCHCW) is working with Faye, Tiara, and other members of Foster Youth Advisory Boards nationwide to end these tragic inconsistencies in public policy that lead to homelessness. With support from the Psychic Source Kindness Program, NCHCW brings young people to Washington, DC on a regular basis to share their stories and suggestions directly with policy makers and national advocacy groups.
Sydney Dykes of the Ohio Youth Advisory Board visits The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is Washington, D.C.
The inscription, a quote from Dr. King reads, in part, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Photo Credit: Doris Edelman
After meeting these young people in March and April 2018, elected officials did two extraordinary things. First, Congress awarded $30 million in new Section 8 subsidies for both families and youth in the child welfare system.
Next, Congress moved forward a bill written by the youth themselves, the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act of 2018. This bill will ensure that young people and unaccompanied homeless youth who reach adulthood in foster care have equal access to rental assistance and self-sufficiency services, regardless of the state or county in which they live. The approach in the bill was inspired by a quote that one of the young people encountered while touring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington DC which reads, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The youth decided that it simply isn’t fair that some young people are destined for homelessness while others have the support they need. So they decided to figure out a way to fix the problem for their brothers and sisters in care – and from that the proposal emerged.
It has been a magical year, not only watching the suggestions of youth come to life in the halls of Congress, but also to watch the transformation in the young people themselves as they realize that their expertise is as powerful and sophisticated as any seasoned advocate. In fact, due to the generous contributions of The Psychic Source Kindness Initiative, NCHCW was able to hire Tiara as a part-time policy expert so we can learn from her lived experience on an ongoing basis. We are beyond ecstatic to report that Tiara just moved into her own place on August 1st!
The Ohio Youth Advisory Group at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Photo Credit: Doris Edelman
The Ohio Youth Advisory Board visiting with Rep. Michael Turner
Photo Credit: Dan Hare
The Ohio Youth Advisory Board visiting with staff from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Photo Credit: Lisa Dickson
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