Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Homeless Youth Awareness Month Blog Series

What comes to mind when you think of November?

Sweater season, warm apple cider, the crackling of a bonfire in a backyard, the smell of Thanksgiving dinner wafting through a home with the sound of family in the background …

For me, many warm memories come to mind when I think about the season.

However, November is also National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, a potent reminder of the stark realities our DC youth face.

This time last year, DCAYA released a Bold Strategy to End Youth Homelessness. The Bold Strategy was created in collaboration with Covenant House DC, Latin American Youth Center, Sasha Bruce Youthwork, StandUp for Kids DC, Wanda Alston Foundation, and the Washington Interfaith Network. The strategy offered a holistic solution to solving the varied problems which lead youth to becoming trapped in the cycle of homelessness.

Thanks to the ongoing dedication of DCAYA’s community of advocates, the Bold Strategy was adopted by the DC Council, written into legislation, and passed as the Homeless Youth Amendment Act. Unfortunately, the legislation did not receive adequate funding to meet all of the intended initiatives.

Where does this leave DC’s homeless young people?

For Homeless Youth Awareness Month, DCAYA is launching a blog series to address the impact of the DC government underfunding critical resources for homeless youth. Follow the month-long series to understand how a family reunification program, additional street outreach, and other youth-focused services would help stabilize a young person’s life.

While the funding was cut short, what advocates are able to do with the resulting funds is astounding.
  • There are 15 new emergency beds to be available specifically for homeless youth. 
  • Advocates and providers will conduct annual Point-In-Time Studies to gather updated data on youth experiencing homelessness.

So enjoy November. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner and warm apple cider, but remember your 4,000+ young neighbors who are struggling to find a safe place to sleep or a warm dinner to fill their bellies. Together, as a community, we need DC to fully fund life-saving resources for homeless youth.


Maggie Riden
Executive Director of DCAYA

Click to donate to DCAYA’s advocacy efforts to end youth homelessness.

Click to sign-up to DCAYA’s newsletter and receive updates on youth homelessness advocacy efforts.

As Hypothermia Season is upon us, we want to remind everyone that if you see anyone outside when it’s 32 degrees or below don’t keep walking, take action and call the Hypothermia Hotline 1 (800) 535-7252. You may end up saving a life.

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