Detroit youth share vision for $5.7M grant to address homelessness, housing instability

Source: Poverty Solutions

Detroit Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program staff and Youth Action Board members at Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center for Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program Celebration Luncheon. Photo credit: Nina Williams.

The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program Celebration Luncheon was held this summer at the Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center in Detroit. The celebration was hosted to share an update on how $5.7 million granted to the City of Detroit for youth experiencing housing instabilities has been allocated so far.

Members of the Detroit Phoenix Center Youth Action Board shared their stories of what it was like to experience housing instabilities at a young age and how they’ve overcome their challenges to now become the young leaders for others who have gone through similar situations.

Between 11-16% of Detroit K-12 students faced homelessness or housing instability in 2021-22, according to a new study from Wayne State University College of Education’s Detroit Partnership for Education Equity & Research in partnership with University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions.

In July of 2021, Detroit Continuum of Care applied for the federal Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program grant to support a coordinated community approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness. In September 2021, Detroit was selected to receive $5.7 million, which led the community into a coordinated planning process.

The mission and vision of youth and young adults centers around collective efforts toward building an equitable and inclusive community where youth and young adults of all backgrounds (LGBTQ+ and BIPOC, parenting, etc) have a support system during housing instability crises. To achieve this goal, the program is now focusing on improving permanent housing systems, creating access to rapid rehousing assistance for youth, and building responsive mental health services in Detroit. The luncheon celebrated the hard work of the board members to turn their vision into a reality.

The Detroit Phoenix Center is a nonprofit organization that responds to the needs of underserved and street-connected youth in Detroit. In this organization, the Youth Action Board helps instill leadership and direction into programs being implemented at the Detroit Phoenix Center and in the community of Detroit. At this celebration, Azaria Terrell, Armani Arnold, Amber Mattews, Ajanae Robinson, and Keyanna Evans told their stories of what it means to be a leader for others at the Detroit Phoenix Center. These youth supported the grant funding process from the very beginning and will continue to support the progress of instilling youth-led projects into the city of Detroit.

Read the full story from Poverty Solutions.

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