Ten Communities Selected for Venture to End Homelessness of LGBTQ, Youth of Color

Members of the Grand Challenge team announce the 10-site initiative at this year’s National Alliance to End Homelessness national conference. Photo: A Way Home America

A Way Home America, a national initiative to end youth homelessness, will invest $1.5 million on lowering the number of LGBTQ youth and youth of color without a place to call home.

The goal of the new “Grand Challenge” project is to help 10 cities and counties in the United States develop “targeted strategies to address the problem in their areas.”

The project will begin with five sites in 2019: Richmond, Va., Hennepin County, Minn.; Miami-Dade County, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif.; and San Francisco.

The next cohort will begin in early 2020 with Palm Beach, Fla.; Tucson-Pima, Arizona; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and Anchorage, Alaska.

“These 10 Grand Challenge communities are committed to centering those young people most likely to experience homelessness – youth of color and LGBTQ youth – and to showing it is possible to effectively end homelessness for all young people,” said Megan Gibbard Kline, director of A Way Home America, in a statement announcing the selected communities. “They are communities unafraid of bold action and systemic change.”

LGBTQ youth have a 120 percent higher risk of reporting homelessness, according to recent research by Chapin Hall. About 80 percent of unaccompanied homeless youth are non-white or biracial, according to recent data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Each Grand Challenge site will be assigned a “lead coach” to work with on addressing homelessness among the two targeted populations, and will receive in-person support from national experts on homelessness, LGBTQ and racial issues. A team of five community leaders from each site will travel to three in-person gatherings each year for the Grand Challenge.

The Grand Challenge is funded by a group of philanthropic entities including the Ballmer Group, the Butler Family Fund, the Raikes Foundation and the Schultz Family Foundation.

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John Kelly
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John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.