NEWARK, NJ — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $297,048 to the Newark Housing Authority to assist youths 18 to 24 years old aging out of foster care, according to a July 28 press release. The HUD funding is awarded through the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, which assists youths who leave foster care, or will leave foster care within 90 days, and are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless at age 16 or older.
Youth aging out of foster care often remain homeless, seeing themselves in dangerous situations and delaying their future and professional development. The FYI Initiative affords young people who are aging out of foster care with a place of their own, helping to ensure their health and safety while providing them with stability as they transition into the next chapter of their lives.
“HUD’s Foster Youth to Independence Initiative is a lifeline to young men and women who see themselves stepping out into the world without the stability of a roof over their heads,” said Alicka Ampry-Samuel, HUD regional administrator for New York and New Jersey. “A housing voucher and supportive services give them a fighting chance; it can go a long way to assist young New Jerseyans become productive adults.”
To qualify for the funding, the housing authority must partner with a local homeless assistance organization that will provide supportive services for a period of 36 months to youth assisted through this program. Youth will not be required to participate in these services as a condition of receipt of the voucher.
Youths must be provided the following services:
- Basic life skills information/counseling on topics including money management, use of credit, housekeeping, proper nutrition/meal preparation, and access to health care.
- Counseling on compliance with rental lease requirements and with Housing Choice Vouchers program participant requirements, including assistance/referrals for assistance on security deposits, utility hook-up fees and utility deposits.
- Providing such assurances to owners of rental property as are reasonable and necessary to assist an FYI-eligible youth to rent a unit with a voucher.
- Job preparation and attainment counseling.
- Educational and career advancement counseling regarding attainment of general equivalency diploma; attendance/financing of education at a technical school, trade school or college; and successful work ethic and attitude models.