Amidst Record Levels of Youth Homelessness, Ten Communities Across the United States Join Effort to End Crisis

A Way Home America Announces Awardees of Grand Challenge to Tackle Homelessness Among LGBTQ+ Youth and Youth of Color

September 4, 2019 (WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, A Way Home America (AWHA) announced the selected communities of its Grand Challenge to end youth homelessness at the True Colors United Impact Summit in Washington, D.C. 


The Grand Challenge aims to end homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color to pave the way to eventually ending housing insecurity and homelessness for all young people. Over the next two years, AWHA will support the 10 selected communities in developing targeted strategies to address the problem in their areas. The awarded communities are: 

Cohort 1: 2019 launch 

  • Greater Richmond, Virginia
  • Hennepin County, Minnesota 
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida 
  • San Francisco, California
  • Sacramento, California

Cohort 2: 2020 launch 

  • Palm Beach, Florida
  • Tucson-Pima, Arizona
  • Washington, DC
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Anchorage, Alaska

“These 10 Grand Challenge communities are committed to centering those young people most likely to experience homelessness – youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth – and to showing it is possible to effectively end homelessness for all young people. They are communities unafraid of bold action and systemic change,” said Megan Gibbard Kline, Director of A Way Home America. 


On any given night in the United States, approximately 41,000 unaccompanied young people between the ages of 13 and 25 experience homelessness. And over the course of a year, one in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 and at least one in 30 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 experience some form of housing instability, whether it be homelessness or couch surfing. In total, approximately 3.5 million young adults and 700,000 youth are affected by homelessness each year. 


The Grand Challenge is concentrating on the needs of LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color, who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their peers, and youth of color make up 89% of young people experiencing homelessness between ages 18 and 24.


“We must center racial and LGBTQ equity and youth collaboration in the fight to end youth homelessness because the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution,” shared Amanda Andere, Chief Executive Officer of Funders Together to End Homelessness.


The method of AWHA’s Grand Challenge is based on the theory of “Targeted Universalism,” meaning that if communities focus on meeting the needs of populations most impacted by youth homelessness – LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color – they can build a system that meets the needs of all young people who experience homelessness. 

“Being bold means ‘failing forward,’ by doing things differently and using what you’re learning to get better,” said Jasmine Hayes, Deputy Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “As you undertake this tough work, know that you will have a network of partners with you every step of the way.”


The Grand Challenge is supported by the Ballmer Group, the Butler Family Fund, the Campion Foundation, the Liberty Mutual Foundation, the Melville Charitable Trust, the Raikes Foundation, and the Schultz Family Foundation. 


For more information about AWHA’s Grand Challenge, please visit https://awayhomeamerica.org/grand-challenge/.

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About A Way Home AmericaAWHA is a national initiative to build the movement to prevent and end homelessness among young people. AWHA is made up of local and state public sector organizations, advocates, researchers, young people, homeless youth providers and philanthropists united behind the goal of ending youth homelessness. www.awayhomeamerica.org