Poverty Reduction Work Highlighted in Office of Homeless Youth Prevention Plan

The Office of Homeless Youth Prevention released its strategic plan, “Shifting Services and Systems to Prevent Youth Housing Instability,” in September.

The Office of Homeless Youth is part Washington State Department of Commerce. Created in 2015, it leads the statewide efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness for youth and young adults.

The 37-page report includes recommendations to prevent youth and young adult homelessness, from people who have experienced housing instability. Like the Poverty Reduction Work Group, the Office of Homeless Youth established a steering committee to help shape the recommendations in its plan, which were drawn into four pillars:

  • Supporting whole family well-being
  • Universal support for basic human rights
  • Mitigating racism and trauma in systems that serve families
  • Shifting resources to BIPOC communities

The first pillar, “Supporting whole family well-being,” includes one recommendation from the PRWG’s 10-year Plan to Dismantle Poverty in Washington: “Ensure screening for services in the well-being service system (and across providers and agency services) are streamlined. Families and youth should not be required to do multiple screenings.” This aligns with Strategy 6C in the 10-year Plan.

The second pillar, “Universal support for basic human rights,” featured several recommendations taken from the 10-year Plan, including:

  • Create community land trusts (CLT) in urban, suburban and rural areas to permanently maintain affordable housing. (This aligns with Strategy 3G.)
  • Provide health care support for transgender young people, including transitioning support, hormones and peer mentors. (This aligns with Strategy 4E.)
  • Provide broadly available cash assistance for young people or their caregivers to meet their basic needs. (This aligns with Strategy 6D.)
  • Annually evaluate and update income limits for access to public benefits to reflect the difference in cost of living across the state. In the analysis, ensure that caregivers do not lose all benefits if their income varies. (This aligns with Strategy 6B).

Another recommendation in the second pillar, “Make housing inclusive and low-barrier,” is further explained in the PRWG’s Affordable Housing brief.

You can read the full report here.

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