Entry/Assessment and Outreach

Meeting people where they are is an important aspect of any initiative. That’s why we plan to provide youth experiencing housing instability the tools and resources they need to find support.

Increase outreach efforts specifically for youth including; physical materials (flyers, resource cards), social media campaign, the development of a youth outreach street team, and an information/resource hub (access point) for youth and service providers.

  1. Develop a team of youth and service providers to inform and develop outreach materials and campaign, including existing outreach stakeholders such as RPD HOPE team. Ensure that team is representative of populations of youth who are disproportionately impacted by housing instability, including youth of color, LGBTQ+ youth, youth who have immigrated to the U.S., pregnant and parenting youth, and youth who have been system-involved.
  2. Identify lead agency to apply for youth-specific outreach funding.
  3. Develop an online portal for outreach requests, resources, and connections.
  4. Develop an in-reach campaign/plan in partnership with McKinney Vento coordinators.
Develop a one-stop app that provides real-time information and is linked to the online portal described in the overarching goal for youth-specific outreach.
  1. Research other communities using app technology.
  2. Create a youth task force to inform the development of the app.
  3. Identify technology expertise to assist with the development of the app – Examples:  Contact Code RVA, VCU technology students, Create-A-Thon.
Develop system to conduct mobile intakes, bringing the resources to the young people or the young people to the resources as needed.
  1. Talk to DMV Mobile about partnering.
  2. Contact places that are already doing intakes- What do they have and what do they need in order to do mobile intakes?
  3. Develop a streamlined intake form/tool and process for information sharing that agencies buy into using to access their services.
  4. Develop a marketing (using social media) plan to get the information out to youth, including an online request for outreach that youth can complete.
  5. Train people conducting mobile intakes; Include mobile intake workers in outreach team developed under overarching goal.
  6. Based on youth input, determine best times/places to do mobile intakes.
Raise awareness of how different definitions of homelessness – including “at risk” of homelessness and housing unstable – impact access to services.
  1. Conduct participatory research to collect stories of youth who have a range of experiences.
  2. Develop a comprehensive list of services and who can access what based on definition.
  3. Based on gaps identified through tasks 1 and 2, collaboratively create a new, more inclusive definition to include in planning and program development going forward.
  4. Create relationships between HUD and youth, state legislators, city council to educate them on differing definitions/experiences and need for broader service access.

Create youth- specific connection points (population specific as needed) that can meet/affirm population specific needs and connect youth to the hub (access point).
  1. Identify populations that would need/require a connection point. Ensure that youth who belong to and are at the intersections of populations that are disproportionately impacted are emphasized in this process, including youth of color, LGBTQ+ youth, youth who have immigrated to the U.S., pregnant and parenting youth, and youth who have been system-involved.
  2. Ask youth: what services they want, what do they want it to be/ look like?
  3. Identify organizations with space/capacity to serve as a connection point.
  4. Identify partners who can offer specific services.
  5. Identify and address barriers to access for youth to get to connection points.

Provide youth drop in center hours/days to increase access for youth experiencing a housing crisis and provide community resources.

  1. Research youth drop-in center model, nationally and regionally, to design an effective model for our region.
  2. Ensure the operation of the center is guided by the principles of the Coalition, which includes affirming youth voice, engaging in anti-racist and LGBTQ+ affirming practice, and having staff who reflect those being served.
  3. Identify organization partner(s) to be anchor partners in the operation of the center.
  4. Identify a location easily accessible to youth.
  5. Identify organizations to provide housing resources (connected to emergency and temporary housing goals) and access to basic needs.

Develop and implement a youth-specific assessment and screening tool to collect data that will inform community and program-level action and connect youth to resources most appropriate to their unique needs.

  1. Identify key data points needed at a community level to assess the size, scope, and impact of youth housing instability, including but not limited to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, country of birth, immigration experience.
  2. Identify tools and best practices used in other communities to assess youth for needs related to housing instability and effectively match them with services and supports.
  3. Develop/adapt a tool tailored to local data and programmatic needs.
  4. Identify strategies for implementation across systems/organizations to increase consistency in data collection, including a plan for analyzing data across sites to inform community-wide efforts.