Oklahoma City Government Provides HUD Funding to Subway Nonprofits Aiming to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness | Community
The City of Oklahoma City was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP), which has awarded the city more than $3 million in community funding.
Sisu Youth Services and HOPE Community Services, Inc. will receive the bulk of this funding for projects specifically focused on preventing or ending youth homelessness at OKC.
“We are honored to have been selected by HUD to participate in YHDP,” said Lindsay Cates, Senior Planner for Oklahoma City.
“Oklahoma’s youth have always faced adversity, and we are grateful to work with organizations like Sisu and HOPE who continue to help young people overcome this adversity. We envision OKC as a place where every youth and young adult has access to proactive, preventative services and a choice of fast, safe, low-barrier housing options.
Sisu has received $990,000 a year through 2023 for youth-focused projects like a drop-in center, a drop-in house program, transitional housing, and rapid rehousing.
“Sisu Youth Services is thrilled to be a recipient of YHDP community funding. This is an incredible opportunity to significantly increase the scope of services we provide – such as expanding our drop-in center from 18 hours to 161 hours per week,” said Rachel Bradley, Executive Director of Sisu.
“The expansion will provide a safe, low-barrier space for young people at all times of the day and night. This investment in Sisu’s work is particularly important because it came at the recommendation of the Oklahoma City Youth Action Councilsome of whom are Sisu alumni.
HOPE will receive $150,000 in 2022 and 2023 for diversion and family engagement support to serve unaccompanied youth with case management services. This project is one of the first of its kind within the children and youth program at HOPE and South OKC.
“We are excited for this opportunity to partner with Oklahoma City on this diversion program,” said LaKeisha Lewis-Vick, LPC-S, Director of Children and Youth Program at HOPE.
“It provides an opportunity to help young people identify direct and indirect barriers. We will help overcome these barriers to support young people’s independence, while using funds to help them maintain their current home by meeting certain financial needs.
The final portion of YHDP funding provides salaries to the city’s Youth Action Board (YAB), which is comprised of youth and young adults with lived experience of homelessness, housing instability, or foster care host and two adult advisers. The YAB has been a key player in the selection of YHDP projects.
“Having lived experiences with homeless youth highlights the changes that need to be made,” said YAB Co-Ambassador Dillynn Hanson.
“And only those with that expertise can recognize the difficulties that the absence of these changes can bring.”
“By recognizing the importance of youth voice through the use of YAB, I believe it brings positive change to the outcome of a project,” said Dane Valentine, YAB Co-Ambassador.
“Who better to understand the needs of homeless youth than someone with recent experience.”
City Council approved the distribution of these funds on August 2.
The Sisu and HOPE projects will begin later this year.
The YHDP is one of the first federal initiatives dedicated to funding permanent youth housing programs and focuses on creating coordinated local systems to respond to youth homelessness.
To read the full Coordinated Community Plansubmitted by the City to receive YHDP funding, click here:
“This funding program is only available to up to 25 communities nationwide, and Oklahoma was the first city in Oklahoma to receive funding,” said a message on the website of the city government.