Author: Darla Bardine, Policy Director, the National Network for Youth (NN4Y)
Providing developmentally appropriate and readily accessible services is critical to addressing episodic or longer-term youth homelessness and is an essential component of any housing intervention. In light of the federal frameworks and collaborative strategies that have been published this year by federal agencies and U.S. Congress, the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) created a Comprehensive Framework to End Youth Homelessness.
This framework outlines the services, housing models, and goals for each of the four stages of intervention: prevention, early intervention, longer-term solutions, and aftercare. These four stages of intervention are not meant to depict a linear consumption of services, but instead seek to outline the services, housing models, and goals that are necessary to have a fully functioning safety net for runaway and homeless youth, as well as those at risk.
Federal, state, and local resources dedicated specifically to serving homeless youth in youth-appropriate ways are minimal and not to capacity. As federal agencies are collaborating to create and scale up the safety net for these often invisible youth who are struggling to survive, NN4Y’s framework is the “goal safety net” that communities work towards. Decision-makers and policy-writers can use this comprehensive framework to identify and fill gaps in the four stages of intervention that prevent youth homelessness and provide effective, comprehensive, and family-focused interventions.
More about NN4Y’s Comprehensive Framework to End Youth Homelessness:
The first page details the services that runaway and homeless youth and their families need at primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions. The second page shows the different housing models that all youth should have access to, since appropriate services cannot be provided if the youth and family are not first housed and stabilized. Finally, this framework states the goals, which can only be achieved when appropriate services and housing resources are available for the youth and family in-crisis. When these stages of interventions are scaled to capacity in a community, there is an effective safety net for these youth and their families.
Darla Bardine is the Policy Director at the National Network for Youth (NN4Y). The National Network, founded in 1974, is the nation’s leading network of homeless and runaway youth programs. The Network champions the needs of runaway, homeless, and other disconnected youth through strengthening the capacity of community-based services, facilitating resource sharing, and educating the public and policy makers. NN4Y members serve over 2.5 million youth annually across the country, working collaboratively to prevent youth homelessness and the inherent risks of living on the streets, including exploitation, human trafficking, criminal justice involvement, or getting killed on the streets. For more information about the National Network for Youth, visit www.nn4youth.org.
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