Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Care 100% about Homeless DC Youth

Revised On 5/29/2014 with a message from the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates Executive Director Maggie Riden:

On March 28th, 2014 the DC Council voted to invest $1.3 million into the End Youth Homelessness Amendment Act. While it is not the funding mark we advocates pushed for, it is a 15% increase to homeless youth resources from the FY’14 budget, which is a significant step in the right direction.

More importantly though, we still have an opportunity to increase this investment.

In June, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer will release an updated revenue forecast for 2015 and there is a high level of confidence that this forecast will be higher than anticipated. When this happens, Council will come back to the table to decide how this additional funding will be spent in the 2015 budget. This means that between now through June we need your help in making sure Councilmembers understand the importance of the End Youth Homelessness Amendment Act and that it stays high on the list of funding priorities.

Please continue to ask your councilmembers through emails, personal calls, direct tweets, and creative activism to fully fund the End Youth Homelessness Amendment Act. It is through our collective power that we influenced millions in funding already, and with this final push and cohesive call to action we can make sure every young person in DC has a safe place to call home. Thank you for your ardent activism over the past few months as we’ve worked together to ensure funding for our city’s most vulnerable, yet resilient youth.  

-         -  Maggie Riden


The DC council votes on the final budget today and only 1.3 million is allotted for the Homeless Youth Act. 

1.3 million is only 13% of the funding needed to provide services to not only house youth, but make sure they become self sustaining adults. 

Tell the DC Council you care 100% about our city’s homeless youth! 

What happens if DC only cares 13%? 

Less Beds = youth will still be turned away during their most desperate time of need

No Family Re-Unification Program = interventions that could mend broken families and reunite children and parents will not exist 

Limited Street Outreach = hungry, tired, desperate young people still won’t have caring adults coming to them and saying “We can help you. Here is some food. Here is some water. Here is where you can find a safe place to sleep.”  

No Fully Developed Drop-In Center = youth don’t know where to turn to for help and now, they still won’t know where to go 

Today is your last day to really make your voice matter! Please tell each and every councilmember that you care 100%. And so should they.

Tweet at Your Councilmember


Testimonies from the End Youth Homelessness Amendment Act Hearing

DC Alliance of Youth Advocates is committed to ensuring all DC youth have access to the resources they need to be successful, self-sustaining adults. To learn more about our mission and issue areas visit:

For more on youth issues in DC you can FOLLOW us on Twitter, LIKE us on Facebook, SUBSCRIBE to this blog and VISIT us at

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Final Push to the #DCFY15 Finish Line


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Youth advocates, we’ve worked long and hard over the past few months to make sure our DC leaders are actively representing the interests of our city’s young people. From testifying, to signing petitions, to holding rallies – this year our community of advocates was louder than ever! But the budget battle is not over yet! Wednesday, May 28th is the final Council budget vote!

Councilmembers are making their final budget decisions right now, so to finish off strong we need one more advocacy push. See below for actions to take.

We want to thank councilmembers who have already promised some funding.  We also want to keep asking councilmembers to fund areas that they have not yet agreed to fund.
Let us know if you have any questions!

Thank Councilmembers for:

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 Youth Homelessness:
  • Putting $200,000 in OSSE’s budget for 2 new, full time employees to assist the McKinney Vento Coordinator to enhance outreach and school based services to homeless children and youth.
  • Asking DC General Services to develop a robust plan around homeless shelters.
  • Moving $1,000,000 into DHS to support the Ending Youth Homelessness Amendment Act strategies and services.

Disconnected Youth:
  • Adding funding for the DC Re-engagement Center to fund the center’s first year at $473,000 and supporting 4 full time staff members.

Youth Workforce Development:
  • Identifying $731,000 i that could provide free Metrobus transportation for youth for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) participants until they get their first paycheck.

Keep asking Councilmembers for:

Say That To My Face!

 Youth Homelessness:
  • Fully fund the Ending Youth Homelessness Legislation Mandate ( $10 million) from non- human services agencies. 

Expanded Learning:
  • The Trust is still slated to only receive $3 million this year.  We continue to advocate for a total funding of $8 million- the budget amount necessary to sustain the Trust's current grantees, services and programming.
  • DCPS afterschool and summer funding is unclear in the budget.  However, it is clear that neither has received the $5 million increase that we advocate for.  We continue to advocate for more funding for afterschool and summer school, as well as for oversight into how at-risk money is used for these two programs.

 Disconnected Youth:
  • Alternative education funding within DCPS is unclear in the budget due to the new budget framework.  However, we continue to advocate for an investment of $1.5 million within OSSE’s budget to grow capacity within alternative education.  Currently, the near 3,000 alternative education seats across the District are more-or-less full.  This poses grave implications for the ability of the Re-engagement Center to refer the 9,000 disconnected youth to best-fit matches in educational programs. 

Workforce Development:  
  • In budget markup, the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs cut $1.6 million from various training and employment programs within DOES, including $300,000 from year-round programs for youth. The Committee transferred these funds to the Film Investment Fund, which creates subsidies for production companies to film in D.C.  On top of a reduction in year-round youth funding of nearly $2 million resulting from a loss in federal WIA funds, this additional $300,000 reduction is especially alarming.
  • We are concerned by the lack of funding slated for adult literacy and adult basic education.  In coordination with the DC Adult and Family Literacy Coalition, we continue to advocate for $1.2 million that support the Adult Literacy for Good Jobs Platform. 

Contact Information:
Here is a list of councilmembers:  If you click their names, you will see their email address, phone number, and office number.

Use the hashtag #InvestInYouth to tweet at your councilmembers. Here are their twitter handles:


The DC budget season is one of DCAYA's busiest times of the year. Make sure you are in the know about the issues effecting our DC youth by following our conversations on Twitter and subscribing to our blog. Educating the public on pressing local youth issues may or may not make up for the long nights and potential caffeine overdoses.  

For more on youth issues in DC you can FOLLOW us on Twitter, LIKE us on Facebook, SUBSCRIBE to this blog and VISIT us at

Monday, May 12, 2014

10 Reasons Why DC Should Invest 10 Million in Homeless Youth

It is our time to tell DC Council that we will not turn our backs on the cities most must vulnerable youth. They are resilient and need our support now to grow-up and become successful adults. View the infographic explaining the "End Youth Homelessness Amendment Act" and sign and share the petition to support and fully fund the legislation. Here are 10 reasons why:

1.) Youth Need a Home to Do Their Homework

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There are over 4,000 homeless students in DC Public Schools right now and that number continues to grow.  Trying to concentrate and learn is nearly impossible when you are going through the trauma of homelessness.

2.)  Homeless Youth Often Become Homeless Adults 

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Youth will become adults. Without help, youth cannot simply escape homelessness when they turn a certain age.

3.) A Good Night’s Sleep Prevents Sickness 

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From headaches to life-threatening diseases, homeless youth get sick a lot more because of unhealthy environments, stress, and vulnerability.  Not only is it a painful way to live, but the medical and public health costs are a high tax burden. View infographic to learn more.

4.) A Prison Meal Should Not Be the Alternative to No Meal at All

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Youth turn to illicit markets when other markets are closed to them.  This puts them at-risk and in prison.  Months and years behind bars are a huge personal cost for the youth, and a big financial cost to the community. Watch video to learn more.


5.) You Need a Roof to Raise a Family

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Homeless youth are caregivers. They take care of grandparents, siblings, cousins, and their own children. Watch video to learn more.

6.) Jobs are Hard to Keep Without a Home

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To apply for jobs, youth need a place of residence and contact information for their resume's. To keep a job youth need stable housing without the stress of reapplying for housing vouchers, figuring out childcare options, wondering where they will get their next meal etc. 

7.) Being Homeless is Expensive

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Homeless youth have their things stolen, have to leave things behind when they are on the move, and can’t make basic, every-day investments that save money. Youth homelessness is also expensive for taxpayers. View infographic to learn more.

8.) Every Youth Deserves a Safe Place to Stay 

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Sleeping on the street or at playgrounds is terrifying.  Sleeping at a friend’s house with strangers is terrifying.   Sleeping at an adult shelter can be terrifying.  Youth shouldn’t have to spend every day in fear.

9.) It Was COLD this Winter - It May Not Be So Cold Next Year

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With the freezing cold weather and snow – people cared about those suffering outside. With warmer weather brings less news coverage, less blog posts and less overall empathy about this vulnerable population. We need to secure funding NOW so that homeless youth don't become a blip on our radar, but an issue our community is willing to tackle.

10.) Youth Have A Will, Now Let’s Provide Them a Way 

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Homeless youth go to school. They hold jobs. They take classes to be better parents. Homeless youth are like all youth- they have dreams and drive. They have been struggling to make it, now it’s up to us to give them a chance.


The above quotes come from testimonies given at the Department of Human Services hearing on the End Youth Homelessness Amendment Act. DCAYA recommends saving the quotes and publishing them onto social media sites to spread the word on signing the petition to support and fully fund the #HomelessYouthActDC.


For more on youth issues in DC you can FOLLOW us on Twitter, LIKE us on Facebook, SUBSCRIBE to this blog and VISIT us at