HUD Awards More than $6 Million to Suburban Cook County to help End Youth Homelessness



Hillside, Ill. - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $6,078,027 to the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County to end youth homelessness. The award is part of HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) and will be used to develop and implement a coordinated community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness in suburban Cook County.

We are excited to bring together community stakeholders, including young adults who have experienced homelessness, youth service providers, housing providers, the education system, juvenile justice system, and the child welfare system to make our vision of ending youth homelessness a reality.

Over the next several months, we will create a comprehensive community plan informed by authentic youth engagement, system collaboration, and our successes implementing innovative strategies during the 100 Day Challenge to End Youth Homelessness.

During the 100 Day Challenge, our community set two ambitious goals, 1) improve identification of young people experiencing homelessness through increased outreach and partnerships with three school districts, and 2) connect 75 young people with safe and stable housing. Through identifying new strategies and areas of collaboration, our 100 Day Challenge team far exceeded our goals! In just 100 days, we:

  • Housed 111 young people!
  • Assessed the vulnerability of 95% of youth in our system
  • Connected with 30 school districts to provide education about resources and utilizing HB261, the Homeless Student's Bill

While we celebrate our successes, we acknowledge the enormity of the current state of youth homelessness in our community. According to the 2019 Point in Time Count, the Alliance conservatively estimates that on any given night 117 young adults and their children are homeless across suburban Cook County. During the past school year, suburban Cook County school districts identified 304 unaccompanied homeless youth under 18.

Increased system collaboration is vital to ending homelessness - 49 percent of young adults experiencing homelessness have been in foster care, incarcerated, or both. In addition to interaction with these systems, youth identify the following themes as the source of their homelessness: family homelessness, chronic parent/child conflict, running away, and parental struggles.

“We know what works, and frankly, we know what isn’t working. Through YHDP, we propose to add youth system navigators to make systems work better together, to increase interim and long-term housing supports to get young people out of homelessness quickly, and to develop youth-specific access points to homeless housing and services. YHDP will allow suburban Cook County to research and test innovative practices to cut short the experience of homelessness for young people in our communities.”

- Jennifer Hill, Executive Director of Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County

As part of the YHDP application process, our community created a system map that represents our vision for preventing and ending youth homelessness based on the strengths of our current system and our goals for the future.

At the core of our work is authentic youth engagement and collaboration with our Youth Action Board. The Youth Action Board is a youth-led committee made up of young people who are currently experiencing homelessness. Our comprehensive community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness will be rooted in the lived experiences of our Youth Action Board members and their wisdom surrounding best practices and strategies to identify young people experiencing homelessness, connect them with resources, and ultimately, provide safe and stable housing.

"Working with the Alliance and taking part in something so amazing and beneficial makes me believe every and any effort made counts. We appreciate that people are starting to realize that this is a real issue and this is a huge step to prevent homelessness and help the youth of this generation."

- Taj, Co-Chair of Alliance Youth Action Board

Thank you to our partners!

Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County | Aunt Martha's Health & Wellness | BEDS Plus | Catholic Charities | Chapin Hall | Chicago Community Trust | Connections for the Homeless | Cook County Department of Planning | Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services | Cornerstone CDC | Evanston Community Foundation | Heartland Alliance | Housing Authority of Cook County | Housing Forward | Journeys The Road Home | Kenneth Young Center | Moran Center for Youth Advocacy | North Cook ISC | Northwest Compass | Shelter, Inc. | State Representative Michelle Mussman | South Cook ISC | The Harbour | Thresholds | Waterton | West Cook ISC | Workforce Investment Board | Youth Action Board | Youth Crossroads, Inc. | Youth Jobs Center of Evanston | Youth & Opportunity United | Youth Outreach Services

Please join us and support our work to end homelessness!

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For questions, please contact
Katie Spoden, Advocacy and Development Coordinator