In the United States, there may be as many as 10 million people who experience domestic violence every year. Unfortunately, since homelessness and domestic violence are inextricably linked, some of these households will experience homelessness.
Since October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s a good time to take stock of the scope of domestic violence in America and what our shelters can do to help households fleeing abuse. This topic is important to all emergency shelters (not just domestic violence shelters), as domestic violence survivors tend to end up in a variety of shelters.
Think about this: while approximately 5 to 7 percent of the general youth population identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT), 9 to 45 percent of the homeless youth population does. In other words, LGBT youth are significantly more likely to be homeless than non-LGBT youth.
In addition to being over-represented among the homeless youth population, LGBT youth may also be more likely to be involved with the justice system due to arrests related to survival crimes (such as theft or sexual acts). When LGBT youth are in shelters, group homes, or foster homes, they often experience harassment or violence. As a result, they may resort to “survival sex” in order to avoid these living arrangements. (This is a term for sexual acts that are exchanged for money or goods required to meet life’s basic needs.)
We’re still digging through HUD’s latest CoC Program NOFA to determine what CoCs should do to secure the maximum amount of federal funds to assist homeless people.
Today, we’re looking at all the incentives spelled out in the NOFA that encourage communities to develop partnerships. HUD will base about a quarter of the points in a community’s overall “score” on the CoC’s strategic use of resources. And by “resources” HUD doesn’t just mean the CoC funds HUD is awarding; it also means the array of funding resources CoCs can access through these partnerships.
While the new CoC Program NOFA has lots of great parts, like its focus on encouraging programs to adopt a Housing First approach and prioritize serving unsheltered people, the most exciting part for me was all the great new homeless youth content.
Before I get into the details, it should be noted that young people ages 18 to 24 are also counted among the chronic, domestic violence, and family homelessness populations (and maybe even the veterans). So that means that all of the great NOFA insights my Alliance colleagues have been blogging and webcasting about also apply to youth.
If you’re working on your application to the FY 2015 Continuum of Care competition, chances are you’re already well into your ranking and scoring process. This year’s CoC Program competition is extremely competitive. HUD will be awarding points to communities that have established a strong performance-based process.That’s why it’s essential that you have an excellent ranking and scoring process.
Last week we held a webinar featuring tips and strategies for designing a ranking process, reviewing project performance and reallocating resources to high-performing projects. Kelly King Horne of Homeward in Richmond, Va. shared her organization’s process and tools, as well as advice for navigating the sometimes fraught process of reallocation. Check out the recording of the webinar below. Below that, you’ll find even more information on designing a great performance-based ranking process.