This Tuesday, Maine Senator Susan Collins announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded Maine a two-year, $3.35 million dollar grant to end and prevent youth homelessness.
The grant will support the creation of a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to end and prevent youth homelessness. The CCR will identify the strengths, gaps and challenges to the existing youth homelessness response system and recommend strategies to improve the system and outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness up to age 24. Since Maine has been identified as a rural community, there will be an emphasis on improved and increased access to services specific to youth experiencing homelessness in rural communities.
Maine is one of only a few rural communities to receive this funding.
“We are excited about receiving this grant and the opportunities it presents for Maine’s youth,” says Chris Bicknell, Executive Director of New Beginnings, the agency that will lead this Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). “The partnerships this will create – and the voice that it will give youth who have been or who are homeless – is truly what we need to prevent and respond to youth homelessness.”
Funding will be allocated through MaineHousing.
“We know that youth homelessness is a significant issue in Maine and we’re grateful our state is receiving funding to address it,” says Dan Brennan, Director of MaineHousing. “We are proud to work with our partners to invest our time, resources, and innovation to prevent a challenge that impacts so many of Maine’s youth.”
New Beginnings will convene a leadership team of cross-sector experts from MaineHousing, the Maine Department of Corrections, the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, local municipalities, and nonprofit youth serving agencies to create the CCR. New Beginnings will also ensure that youth with lived experience in homelessness have a voice in all decisions regarding the work of the CCR.
After the CCR is created, non-profit, faith-based, and government agencies will have an opportunity to apply for subgrants to create new and innovative programs to end and prevent youth homelessness.
New Beginnings partners with youth to create lasting change so all youth have a safe place to live and opportunities to grow. Their vision is a world in which all youth are safe and valued in their communities. For more information, visit newbeginmaine.org.
MaineHousing has helped Maine people own, rent, repair, and heat their homes since 1969. MaineHousing is an independent state authority created to address the problems of unsafe, unsuitable, overcrowded, and unaffordable housing. MaineHousing is a $1.8 billion financial institution with a staff of over 160 people. MaineHousing assists more than 90,000 Maine households and invests more than $300 million in the Maine economy annually. For more information, visit mainehousing.org.