Housing Solutions For Child Welfare Youth and Families:
A presentation to the Supportive Housing Network of New York
Ruth White
National Center for
Housing and Child Welfare
[email protected]
The National Center for Housing and
Child Welfare (NCHCW)
NCHCW links housing resources to child
welfare agencies to improve family
functioning, prevent family
homelessness, safely reduce the need for
out-of-home placement, and ensure that
each young person who ages out foster
care is able to access safe, decent,
permanent housing.
Housing Matters for Families
Housing affects families at each decision point in the child
welfare continuum. Children from families with housing
problems are:
 More likely to be investigated by CPS (Culhane et al, 2004)
 More likely to be placed in out-of-home care (Courtney et
al, 2004)
 Longer stayers in foster care (Jones, 1998)
Thirty percent of children in foster care (or about 126,000
kids) are separated from their parents because of housing
problems (Doerre & Mihaly, 1996; Hagedorn, 1995; Thoma,
Housing is Cost-Effective
A $15 million investment in FUP means that
more than 3500 children will return home or
avoid foster care for an annual savings of $74
million (or $56, 892 per family). (Harburger
and White, 2004).
 It costs approximately $53,500 to serve a
homeless young person on the street or in
residential treatment but supportive housing
for one young person costs only $5,300. (Van
Leeuwen, 2004).
How can CW begin to address
Acknowledge the difficulty that the lack of housing
tools poses to frontline cw staff.
Consider the advantage that cw workers have over
homeless shelter workers in preventing family and
youth homelessness and train them accordingly.
Use state child welfare funds to subsidize housing
Participate in conversations governing the
distribution of community housing resources.
Partner with housers to provide housing tools to cw
Family Unification Program
•FUP is a housing program for families and youth in
the child welfare system. At minimum, FUP
provides Section 8 vouchers to child welfare families
and youth aging out of care.
•FUP is a collaboration between Public Housing
Authorities and Public Child Welfare Agencies.
•FUP is a program designed to strengthen and
stabilize child welfare families.
What is the status of FUP
From 1992 through 2001, HUD awarded an average of
3,500 vouchers to FUP.
In 2000, Sen. Bond added youth ages 18-22 who left
foster care after age 16 as an eligible population for FUP.
From 2002-2007, Congress provided funding but HUD
opted not to fund FUP .
In 2008-9, Sens. Murray and Bond directed HUD to
spend $40 million on FUP or 5,083 FUP vouchers
HUD awarded $15 million for just over 1,900 vouchers
on June 2, 2011.
FUP Partnership Model
US Dept of Housing and
Urban Devt. (HUD)
Department of Children
and Families (child
Info and
Funding for
Sec. 8 vouchers
Funding and referrals
Housing assistance and
case management
Supportive Housing
(IL Program)
voucher to
Pays rent on time
Pays rent on time
Supportive Housing for Families
A Collaborative in Connecticut
Funded by Department of Children and Families (DCF)
Rental subsidies provided by Department of Social
Services (DSS)
Additional Collaborators:
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
 John D’Amelia Associates and local Housing Authorities
 Community, civic and faith-based organizations
© The Connection, Inc.
Supportive Housing for Families
- The ConnecticutionApproach
A 3-pronged strategy for long-term success in
housing families who are homeless or at risk of
becoming homeless referred by DCF:
 Intensive
Case Management Services
 Flexible Funds
 Rental Subsidies for Families
 Section
8 or RAP Certificates
What is the capacity of SHF?
Current capacity to serve 500 families
Over 1,084 Families Housed
Over 2,710 Children Housed
100% utilization of housing vouchers
 Success
in identifying quality housing
 Success in landlord relationships
 Success in lease-up process
State and Local Examples of
Serving Child Welfare Families
and Youth with Various and
Creative Mix of Housing Funds
City of Las Vegas: setting local
Section 8 priorities.
The Housing Authority of the City of
Las Vegas partnered with DSS and
created a local waitlist preference for
Housing Choice Vouchers. When a
voucher becomes available, eligible
foster youth through a referral from
DSS, receives a voucher plus
Colorado State: Using IDAs to
support youth success
The Colorado Family Unification Program (FUP)
focuses on serving former foster care youth
experiencing homelessness. In 2001, the Colorado
Department of Human Services received 100 FUP
These Section 8 vouchers last for 18 months and are
targeted specifically for youth ages 18–21 that leave
foster care at age 16 or older with inadequate housing.
Recently partnered with Mile High United Way to beef
up case management. Through this partnership, youth
have access to job training and IDAs
New Jersey Example
Homeownership for Adopting Families
NJHMFA's award-winning Home Ownership for
Permanency Program provides home ownership
mortgage loans to families that are newly adopting
or making a permanent commitment through
kinship legal guardianship for a child through the
Department of Human Services, Division of Youth
and Family Services, or a state-licensed adoption
NJHMFA also administered affordable housing for
former foster youth.
Florida Example: Using the
HOME Program
The Home Investment Partnership Program is a federal
block grant that provides states with a flexible
affordable housing funding stream. This money can
be used to subsidize rent (best kept secret of HOME!)
• Jeb Bush, when Governor, set aside 5% of
HOME funds to subsidize rent for youth
leaving foster care.
New York City Example: Coupling
Section 8 eligibility and the LIHTC
•The LIHTC was established in 1986 in order to
encourage the construction and rehabilitation of rental
housing affordable to low income households.
•NYCHA and ACS have been at the forefront of
creating local priority codes for FUP eligible
households and then using that status to leverage private
dollars and developers in order to free up units for youth
leaving foster care (my esteemed fellow panelists from
and the Lantern Group will elaborate on this
Some final thoughts on where to
Pay a visit to the states that have made strides,
learn from their mistakes and achievements.
 States can use some homeless services and
housing dollars for youth, but again, there are
 Collaborations are the fastest, most efficient
way to create a range of housing options.
Urge child welfare agencies to contribute
financially to housing costs for families but not that
they will replace housers such as the PHA.
Contact information
Ruth White, MSSA
Executive Director
National Center for Housing and Child Welfare
6711 Queens Chapel Rd
University Park, MD 20782
(301) 699-0151
[email protected]

PowerPoint - Supportive Housing Network of New York