Yesterday, CSH brought together child welfare agencies, service providers, and public and private funders from three states to visit two New York City based housing programs focused on improving outcomes for young adults experiencing homelessness and youth aging out of state care. The group visited Lantern Organization’s Vicinitas Hall, a 68 unit supportive housing development in the Bronx for youth aging out of the foster care system, and also West End Residence’s 30 unit True Colors Residence, New York’s first and only permanent supportive housing development for LGBTQ youth with a history of homelessness.
The full-day learning exchange provided an opportunity for participants to engage in open dialogue not only with clinical and program staff at both programs, but also with each other to strategize ways to influence policy and replicate the models across the tri-state region. Pamela Cranford, a Program Manager at the CT Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), commented that the sites “did not look like a place to just stay, but a place to live.” Cranford went on to reflect, “The positive exchanges and sharing of ideas from our sister states was invaluable. We need to keep this going.”
Mary Adams of Lantern Organization in New York conveyed, “Although so many of us have been doing this work for so long, there is still much we gain from events like this. Most importantly though is that there seems to be new and invigorated momentum about the work that can be done with young adults, as well as the confidence that this work will pay off with long-term, sustainable, positive outcomes.”
Participants included representatives from the State of Connecticut DCF, Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), DMHAS – Young Adult Services division, Dept. of Housing, and Office of Policy and Management, as well as the CT Housing Finance Authority, Melville Charitable Trust, Youth Continuum, Inc. – New Haven, and True Colors (CT). Representatives from Covenant House New York, Covenant House New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services also participated, bringing a range of relevant experiences to the table, and all are committed to continuing the dialogue across the region.