An Innovative Plan for Youth Shelter & Housing

May 15, 2021

791. That’s the number of youth in our community, that we know of, who are currently navigating life, school, and homelessness alone. Before the pandemic there were a total of 12 beds available to youth under the age of 18 in need of emergency shelter in our community. Since the pandemic that number has dropped as low as 7. The need is undeniable. So, where do we begin?

The 15th Night was founded on the belief that we live in a caring community that doesn’t shy away from complex issues such as youth homelessness. Standing on that belief, we invited service providers, stakeholders, youth and community leaders to come together to tackle the lack of shelter and housing options for youth navigating homelessness by creating a coordinated plan to address it.

The 15th Night Youth Housing Planning Task Force started by defining the different types of shelter/housing and identifying what resources already exist in our community. The next step was to go to the youth themselves to find out what it is that they really need. We learned so much from talking to the youth and with their guidance we were able to identify where the gaps in services are.

The development of the plan created by the task force included identifying and mitigating possible pathways to youth homelessness, as well as addressing barriers to accessing resources and services. The plan proposes a strategy for prevention and shelter diversion, as well as additional programming and services for transitional housing and emergency shelter.

This plan was vetted by youth currently experiencing homelessness, developed by a 35-member stakeholder Task Force, and guided by a Core Leadership Team. We know that we don’t have all the answers, but we also know that the 791 youth in our community navigating homelessness cannot wait for us to have all the answers. It’s time that we prioritize and reinvest in our community’s existing resources, and allocate resources to support the plan’s recommended services.

Overcoming Homelessness