Here at the Alliance offices, we’re busily preparing for our upcoming National Conference on Ending Family & Youth Homelessness. (And since everyone in DC is currently wondering when the next winter storm is going to dump any snow on us, we’re more than a little excited about being in sunny San Diego next month.) As the Alliance’s youth policy analyst, I’m currently working hard on organizing the youth homelessness content. And there is going to be a lot of it!
The conference is less than a month away. If you’re going to be attending, you’re probably already thinking about what workshops you want to attend. Here’s a quick look at the wide variety of youth-focused workshops we have lined up. In these workshops, we’ll be exploring what providers, researchers, and policymakers are doing to end youth homelessness by 2020, the goal set in Opening Doors, the national strategic plan to end homelessness.
1.2 Blueprint to End Youth Homelessness
Speakers in this workshop will provide a macro view of youth homelessness that explores a range of visions for addressing the problem, including national research. The workshop will also highlight a state that’s developing a bold new youth homelessness plan that includes a prevention measure that intervenes incredibly far upstream.
1.8 Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness: Early Intervention
Since family conflict is the most common cause of youth homelessness, increasing and improving the use of early intervention models will help youth who are either at-risk of homelessness or who have recently become homeless. Among models discussed in this workshop will be one that works to diffuse family conflict before it results in a youth being kicked out or running away from home.
(Additionally, 4.7 Ending Youth Homelessness: Facilitating Family Reconnection will examine some of the most effective models that providers and researchers are using to facilitate safe and appropriate reunification with family after a youth has become homeless.)
2.6 Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Homeless Youth
Homeless youth are particularly at risk for sexual exploitation. So in this workshop, we’re going to cover how providers can help prevent the trafficking and sexual exploitation of youth, as well as what kinds of services they can and should provide to aid survivors of exploitation.
2.9 Systemic Responses to Youth Homelessness
In this workshop, speakers will look at some communities that are working to implement a comprehensive response to youth homelessness. They will discuss how to develop a system that includes an adequate crisis response and a developmentally appropriate array of interventions for youth. They will also discuss focusing on outcomes and integrating the youth homelessness response within Continuums of Care.
3.7 Outreach and Crisis Housing for Youth
Speakers in this workshop will discuss how to develop outreach and crisis response interventions to ensure that homeless youth are safe while providers help them to return to family or access other housing and service resources in their communities.
3.8 Education and Employment Interventions for Disconnected Youth
Since increasing education and employment is essential to ensuring that youth are able to become successfully independent and stable, we have included this workshop, which is devoted to exploring strategies that providers are using to improve education and employment outcomes for homeless youth.
5.6 Housing Models for Youth I and 6.3 Housing Models for Youth II
Because there are so many models of housing interventions for homeless youth, we’ve developed these two housing models workshops. 5.6 will cover innovative models like host homes and rapid rehousing, along with the variety of ways providers implement transitional housing interventions. 6.3 will look at interventions that serve youth who face greater barriers to stability, like mental illnesses, substance abuse issues, or histories of sexual aggression.
5.7 Improving Data on Homeless Youth
If we’re going to end youth homelessness, we will need better systems to respond to the problem, systems that are based on solid data. This workshop will look at how communities can make their Point-in-Time Counts more youth-inclusive and improve the accuracy of the administrative data they collect on youth.
6.4 Serving and Improving Outcomes for LGBTQ Youth
This workshop will focus on providing safe, inclusive, and affirming services to LGBT youth, who are overrepresented among the homeless youth population.
6.7 Getting the Lawyers Involved: How Legal Advocates Can Help Address Youth Homelessness
In this new workshop, speakers will explore how youth providers can work with attorneys in their communities to provide homeless youth with the wide array of legal services they need to attain stability.
And that’s just the workshops! During the conference, we will also be screening a powerful documentary on youth homelessness, “The Homestretch.” (Check out the trailer above). Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear directly from youth themselves in a plenary panel discussion during lunch on Thursday. For additional information about other conference workshops, check out our online conference agenda.
See you in San Diego!