This year, 19 young people were enrolled in both rapid rehousing and workforce development services. Due to the grant not continuing in FY21 no additional young people were enrolled in quarters 3 and 4. Unfortunately, the target participant count was not met for the year and the program will serve two less participants than anticipated. The program will not bring on the additional participants late in the year due to the funding ending at the end of June and the many months of housing supports that would be needed beyond June to help sustain housing long-term for the individual.
In quarter 3 all youth had been housed for a period of 6 months or more, were working through barrier removal and turning their attention to GED internships and employment. Unfortunately, only 52 percent of young people were housed in 45 days. This is due to the initial difficulties of finding housing for a young person. This is including finding landlords who will work with the program, setting up viewings of units/taking youth to view different apartments, doing inspections of units, and having people sign leases. Additionally, staff support with ensuring housing is maintained according to habitability standards and addressing other barriers to pursuing a youth’s goals. Those barriers include supporting pregnant and parenting youth, young people who use substances, and those who need access to mental health services. Each of these situations individually requires intensive work from each case manager and many participants fell into more than one category (and some all three). Even with a stable place to live it can be difficult to address these issues. Case managers recognized these needs and made sure that young people were supported and moving forward with their goals. There were 8 young people who were completing or completed internships, 5 taking GED classes and overall, 42% of the enrolled youth were placed in employment.
Unfortunately, services were deeply impacted by COVID 19 towards the end of Quarter 3. Across the City many services stopped, including home visits. The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic is felt hardest by those experiencing homelessness, in low-wage jobs or receiving and those living at the intersections of multiple forms of oppression. Youth who gained stable employment were getting laid off, unable to provide for themselves and their families. Neighborhood resources like YES and MOED had to begin closing and limiting physical hours of operation to keep our communities safe. And a large movement to virtual and remote engagement magnified the digital divide and concerns around connectivity access. Overall, there are fewer spaces to access the same level of community and connection that sustain wellness, stability, and connection to resources.
As a result, work was shifted to be largely remote and virtual. YES and YO were working closely with youth in the program on life skills counseling and access to critical basic services like food by acting as a resource hub and community connector to services across the city. Connectivity support was provided to young people in the program without access to phones or computers by purchasing phones with service plans over several months. Emergency travel support via Lyft Concierge to access critical appointments or interviews based on the restricted transportation system schedules due to COVID-19 was provided. And youth were recruited for virtual workforce development and wellness support discussions occurring multiple times a week. The Rapid Rehousing case management team, Housing Program Coordinator, workforce development staff, and Family League were all involved in this effort.