Policy and Policy Advocacy
Putting proper policy in place will not only raise awareness and support around youth housing instability, but it will also give those who have been directly affected an opportunity to speak out.
Ensure inclusion of youth directly impacted by housing instability at decision-making tables and ensuring that youth voice is reflected in policies addressing youth housing instability and support needed.
- Identify state and local decision-making tables related to youth homelessness and housing instability where youth are not currently represented.
- Initiate a proposal/formal request to include youth and strategies for doing so.
- Develop a document with best practices for organizations, programs, and services addressing youth homelessness and housing instability on how to include directly affected young people in decision-making, particularly youth who belong to populations that are disproportionately impacted such as youth of color, LGBTQ+ youth, youth who have immigrated to the U.S., pregnant and parenting youth, and youth who have been system-involved.
- Develop a commitment statement on engaging directly affected young people for organizations seeking to move any of the coordinated community-wide plan goals forward.
- Disseminate document and offer training/technical assistance.
Make ending youth housing instability a priority for federal, state and local policy makers.
- Develop an advocacy campaign with strategies for engaging with policy makers which includes:
- Strategies for making the issue personal for various stakeholder groups, including use of data collected by Advocates for Richmond Youth and others.
- Plan and implement a youth-led event where youth teach other advocates (policymakers and other stakeholders) how to advocate on their behalf.
- Engaging stakeholders to have face-to-face meetings with policymakers.
- Strategies to engage local media in efforts to raise visibility and awareness.
- Identify specific local and state policies that limit the ability of youth to find, acquire, and maintain stable housing, particularly youth who belong to groups that face added barriers such as youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth.
- Develop policy recommendations based on #2 to be disseminated to policymakers.
Improve access to and education about public and private funding sources available at the federal, state and local levels to address youth housing instability.
- Develop a funding toolkit for Coalition member agencies and stakeholders that includes key information on youth housing instability and identified funding sources that are available to support programs and services for youth homelessness and housing instability.
- Disseminate toolkit and make available in online forums.
- Develop a toolkit for funders that includes key information on youth housing instability, the coordinated community-wide plan developed by the Coalition, and specific ways that local funders can have an impact on this issue.
- Plan and host an event for policymakers to educate them on the issue of youth homelessness and housing instability and specific ways that public investment could make an impact, particularly for populations of young people who are disproportionately impacted 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 (foster care, juvenile and criminal justice).
Identify accountability measures for agencies, systems and processes addressing youth housing instability.
- Develop a bill of rights for youth experiencing homelessness that would address things that youth should be able to expect in interactions with service providers, including specific behaviors that affirm them in all of their identities.
- Develop a survey for youth who seek services from organizations and systems to allow for feedback on experiences, particularly in relationship to the bill of rights.
- Analyze feedback in a disaggregated way in order to evaluate experiences for specific 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.
- Identify other provider practices that are barriers for youth (or sub-populations of youth) based on data collected and data on youth who are not seeking/receiving services.
- Develop training modules related to key areas of practice to be offered to organizations on an ongoing basis to support best practice implementation.
Increase education and awareness around housing policy among community members, policy makers and youth directly affected by housing instability.
- Develop a team of Advocates for Richmond Youth and other youth advocates to be trained as trainers/educators.
- Using priorities identified in goal #2, develop a train-the-trainer to prepare youth advocates to educate others on policy issues affecting youth housing stability.
- Identify forums and venues to deliver educational sessions.