NAEHCY Local Youth Task Forces
"I appreciate you being here, but I'm homeless now. I hope you're not going to be another one of those groups of adults who sit around talking. We need you to do something."
-- Teenaged Task Force participant, San Diego CA
The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) is leading a nationwide project to facilitate inter-agency collaboration and services supporting unaccompanied youth. These Local Youth Task Forces recognize the urgency of young people’s needs and are attaining immediate, medium, and long-term goals to prevent and end youth homelessness.
After conducting a needs assessment to gather information directly from young people about their most pressing unmet needs, we work together as a community to implement creative, responsive strategies.
Task Force members include a wide array of youth-serving programs (schools, community youth agencies, homeless coalitions, colleges and universities, child welfare agencies, law enforcement, job training programs, civic and faith-based groups, public policy makers, etc.), guided and led by young people. Rather than focus on a single program, Task Forces build on the strengths of a variety of existing stakeholders and create sustainable local systems.
NAEHCY has sponsored Task Forces in fourteen communities around the country, including:
- Detroit, MI
- East Maricopa County, AZ
- Guilford County, NC
- Laramie County, WY
- Marion County, IN
- Memphis, TN
- Northeast TN
- Polk County, FL
- Sacramento, CA
- San Antonio, TX
- San Diego, CA
- San Luis Obispo, CA
- Southern CT
- Whidbey Island, WA
We also support other Task Forces at the request of local communities.
Each Task Force implements projects to respond to the needs identified by young people experiencing homelessness in the community. Projects range from small-scale, local efforts to changing state and federal laws and policies. Task Force projects and achievements to date include:
- State law changes to facilitate access to housing, education and employment.
- Independent living program housing young adults in Tennessee.
- New, local funding secured for shelter and drop-in center in Sacramento.
- Host home program and cooperative youth home providing housing to young people in Wyoming.
- Transportation assistance for youth in Detroit and Sacramento.
- Youth-focused health and dental clinics in San Diego.
- Legal clinics helping youth with income tax, family law and immigration matters.
- Cataloging and publicizing available youth services through Facebook, pocket-sized guides and dog tags.
- Raising awareness of youth homelessness through videos, press events, youth events, and other means, leading to more funding and community investment.
- New national, state and local policies to ensure access to food benefits for unaccompanied youth.
NAEHCY has created a Local Task Force Start-Up Kit with steps, advice and downloadable tools for starting a Local Youth Homelessness Task Force in your community. Please contact Dr. Anne Williamson for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 816-235-5177.
NAEHCY’s Task Forces bring the expertise of practitioners into state policy, creating laws to respond to real conditions and the real needs of youth. Our State Policy page details how the Task Forces have helped changes laws affecting over 400,000 children and youth.
Anne R. Williamson, Ph.D.
Victor and Caroline Schutte/Missouri Professor of Urban Affairs
Director, L. P. Cookingham Institute for Urban Affairs
Department of Public Affairs
Henry W. Bloch School of Management
University of Missouri - Kansas City
5110 Cherry Street, 310 Bloch Heritage Hall
Kansas City, MO 64110
Office: (816) 235-5177
Mobile: (816) 868-2276