Today, A Way Home America (AWHA) participated in a roundtable discussion on youth homelessness hosted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which was attended by HUD Secretary Ben Carson. The Founding 8 members of our new Leadership Body, all of whom are young people with lived experience, made the decision to attend the meeting and selected two members who represented AWHA at the table. A Way Home America was represented by Marcella Middleton and Amanda Clifford.
This decision was made in consideration of the politics of this administration and Secretary Carson. We chose to participate with the express goal to use this meeting as an opportunity to communicate two clear points of view: 1) That the inclusion of and leadership by young people most impacted by homelessness is essential to ending youth homelessness, and 2) that this can only be done if the federal government fully invests in proven, equitable, Housing First strategies tailored to young people.
We continue to oppose this administration’s harmful policy decisions, like those to weaken HUD’s Equal Access Rule, and any statements hurtful to others. And, we were encouraged by the opportunity to share our message on behalf of this growing movement and proud to stand alongside our partners in this effort. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the career staff at HUD and across the federal government who remain strong partners in this work, and hold hope that today’s conversation can open a new and more productive dialogue with this Administration’s leadership going forward.
We know ending youth homelessness is possible. We know it is possible with authentic partnership with young people and an explicit focus on racial and LGBTQ equity. We will continue to follow the lead of the young people shaping our movement and advocate for the solutions we know will bring an end to homelessness for all young people.
Associate Director, Public Policy