YHDP is the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, a federal initiative designed to reduce the number of youth under 25 experiencing homelessness. In August 2019, Springield-Hampden County was selected as one of 23 YHDP sites in the third round of the project.
Hampden County’s selection comes with an award of $2.4 million, but our community is unable to access the funds right away.
The first step for YHDP communities is to work with youth, child welfare agencies, and other community partners to create a comprehensive community plan to end youth homelessness. The plan will identify community-wide strategies as well as the programs the community wants to create with the new funds. As we begin planning, we can review Coordinated Community Plans created by previous YHDP communities.
Once our plan is created and approved by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), we can select local providers to operate the new programs, and those agencies will be able to access the $2.4 million, which is for two years of funding. After the two years, the new programs can be reviewed on an annual basis.
Our selection as a YHDP community is a great opportunity, first to dramatically redesign our system of services that respond to youth with housing instability, but also to fund the housing and service programs that we need to be effective.