In November 2018, five communities set out on a 100-Day Challenge as part of a growing national movement to prevent and end youth homelessness. Armed with goals some might have thought were impossible, they set out to help young people gain access to employment, education, health, and ultimately, safe and secure housing.
For the last three years, Rapid Results Institute (RRI), in partnership with HomeBase, A Way Home America, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, has jumpstarted communities to create a coordinated system in efforts to connect young people to safe and stable housing. RRI launched their third HUD cohort of 100-Day Challenges in November 2018 in Miami by convening providers, funders, and supporters from the following communities:
- Miami-Dade County, Florida
- Prince George’s County, Maryland .
- Sacramento, California
- Southern Nevada/Las Vegas, Nevada
- Suburban Cook County, Illinois
Each community created their own ambitious goals they were all diligently working towards in their Cohorts. With the countdown underway, the communities worked in innovative ways to connect the young people that were the most challenging to reach.
Throughout the process, the Teams were encouraged to not only center, but to prioritize young people with lived experience and youth of color. In collaboration with True Colors United and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Cohorts were challenged to engage and empower young people in their planning and implementation process. Communities like Sacramento partnered with young people to identify issues in the system and develop creative solutions.
As the Cohort members celebrated their progress on their goals during the Sustainability Workshop, they also collaborated with the other communities to discuss challenges they saw across their regions and any ideas they had for solutions. Team Members from the five communities spent time tackling four key questions:
- How do we sustain and grow authentic youth partnership?
- How do we identify and secure new resources for our youth and young adult homeless system in a resources-scarce environment? What if we asked what is needed to create inclusive buy in?
- Why aren’t all systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and workforce development working as one?
- How do we build greater engagement and support from leaders, colleagues, and other providers to sustain and grow the work?
After discussing the challenges, they asked the bold question “What if we...?” Just as bold as the idea of achieving their lofty goals they set forth at the beginning of this Challenge, they were asked to push beyond their sectors, silos, funding, and imagination to think about what would be possible through collaboration. While this marked the end of their 100-Day Challenge, it was just the beginning of these communities ongoing commitment to ensure that ALL young people are stably housed. If 567 young people can be served in 100 Days in just these five communities, what can we do to end youth homelessness in every community?