PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to provide stable housing to young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability in the midst of a pandemic, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today delivered $94,340 to help Rhode Island Housing prevent youth homelessness.  The federal funds, provided under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Homeless Foster Youth to Independence Initiative (FYI), will target needed housing and supportive assistance to at-risk former foster youth who are aging out of foster care.

“Youth homelessness is a growing problem in our communities and we need to provide federal resources to prevent vulnerable children and young adults from ending up on the streets with no place to go.  This federal funding is a smart investment in providing opportunity for young people and helping them find a stable home.  It will assist Rhode Island Housing and its partners with targeted efforts to curb youth homelessness and reduce housing insecurity,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD).

Senator Reed, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), led the bipartisan effort to create and fund the FYI program, which invests in local, cross-system collaborative efforts to prevent and end homelessness among youth with a current or prior history of child welfare involvement.  FYI provides housing vouchers to qualified young people so they can find and afford a rental unit.

Rhode Island Housing can use the FYI vouchers to help provide up to 36 months of housing and voluntary supportive services for at-risk kids aging out of foster care, such as education and employment support.

After the 36-month period ends, young people who still need assistance are connected to local public housing authorities and may be placed on a priority list up to the age of 25.

Studies show that youth aging out of foster care are at high risk for becoming homeless during the transition to adulthood, with about 25 percent of former foster youth nationwide experiencing at least one period of homelessness after exiting foster care.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an estimated 20,000 young Americans age out of foster care annually.