The COVID-19 crisis isn’t just a threat to our personal health. It is also a real and unique chance to advance toward more equitable and youth-driven responses to youth homelessness in communities across the country.
As we navigate this together, A Way Home America is hosting video gatherings every other week [or so] with young adult leaders, funders, advocates, partners in government, and providers on the front lines around the country. We’ll take the time during these calls to share information and create space to nurture important connections.
During the first of these calls last week, more than 250 participants heard from representatives at the following organizations:
- CDC, which has posted COVID-specific guidance for people experiencing homelessness as well as service providers supporting them
- HUD, which now has weekly virtual office hours for homeless assistance providers and is fielding programs’ questions online
- True Colors United and Youth Collaboratory, who noted that more work is needed to earmark stimulus funds for youth homelessness. (Stay tuned for more analysis.)
- National Innovation Service, who reminded us that speed is not an excuse for exclusion.
- National Youth Forum on Homelessness, who asked communities to re-think how we turn to young people as a source for strategy and perspective.
We know that there is no “business as usual” any longer. COVID-19 will continue to shine a light on gaps and broken parts of the system in sharp relief. Embedded within this is an opportunity to build the systems and responses that work best for the most marginalized young people. If we can rise to this challenge not just in terms of scale but also in equitable changes in our responses to youth homelessness, we take a huge step closer to ending it.
Thank you for all you do. Where possible we are social distancing, but we’re in this together.
Megan Gibbard Kline
Director, A Way Home America