2019 PIT Count Reveals Reduction in Youth Homelessness

joe-wyatt-1370985-unsplash.jpg

January’s Point in Time Count – an annual event that provides community data around how many individuals and families are experiencing homelessness and what their needs are – has revealed a dramatic reduction in the numbers of youth experiencing homelessness.

While the overall numbers of individuals and families experiencing homelessness remained more or less level, we saw tremendous progress with youth (18-24) homelessness – a 25% reduction in youth homelessness overall and a 58% reduction in unsheltered youth homelessness!

This is incredibly encouraging news, and a tribute to both the community movement to End Youth Homelessness and our specific work at LifeWorks. In 2016, we joined together with Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO)SAFEIntegral CareCaritas of Austin and numerous other organizations to develop a system that would make youth homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring by 2020. We engaged in a nationally-visible 100 Day Challenge, participated in Chapin Hall’s “Voices of Youth Count,” co-wrote the YHDP grant that resulted in $5.2m to Austin, and co-led the development of the Community Plan to End Youth Homelessness that was approved by HUD and endorsed by the Austin City Council in 2018.

LifeWorks has almost 60 years of history of providing effective, compassionate shelter and housing options, but this marked the first time we decided to address youth homelessness as a community issue we can solve collaboratively and systemically. We are building a system of service and opportunity that will result in making youth homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. 

In 2018, we launched three new programs aligned with these goals. Homelessness Diversion works with school districts, child welfare and juvenile justice to prevent youth from experiencing homelessness; the PORT (Permanence Through Outreach and Rapid Transitions) is a transition-aged youth facility that strives to make homelessness brief; and Rapid Re-Housing places and supports youth in apartments with case management, mental health and workforce support. These three programs have moved almost 80 youth to housing in the last 5 months!

While this is tremendous news, we are hardly finished. There are 258 youth still waiting for housing. Our goal is to continue to scale until we can accurately state that youth homelessness in Austin Texas is rare, brief and non-recurring. 

We fully intend to do this – with you - by 2020.

Martin Luther King Day of Service

IMG_2700.jpg

Employees from the St. David’s Foundation dedicated a day of service to LifeWorks on Martin Luther King Jr., Day. 

Team members spent their afternoon completing multiple projects to benefit youth experiencing homelessness and receiving LifeWorks services. They made “Welcome Home” posters for youth moving out of our transitional living shelter and into their first apartments and Valentine’s Day cards for youth in all of our programs. Some team members also dedicated their afternoon to sprucing up the front doors of the Works I – our 49-unit apartment building. 

St. David’s Foundation has been a wonderful community partner to have, and we look forward to working with their staff on additional service projects.

 

Project Holiday Help 2018

IMG_8437.JPG
IMG_8438.JPG
IMG_8395.JPG

This year’s Project Holiday Help was an incredible success!

As part of the Project Holiday Help gift drop offs, individual, family, and corporate sponsors purchased more than $42,000 (and counting) in gifts for 200 youth and families receiving support from LifeWorks. In addition, many of the purchased gifts were accompanied by gift cards. The total amount of the gift cards is still being calculated, but to date, more than $4,000 has been donated to help support the programs offered to clients. We’d like to send a special thank you to Aaron at Brungot Farms for donating 41 fresh cut Christmas trees and 13 wreaths to clients and their families to help make the holiday season feel extra special. 

We would also like to thank LifeWorks Special Events Coordinator, Maureen Engle, for her commitment to our clients and families and for her dedication in organizing another fantastic year of Project Holiday Help.