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May 2020Vol. 21, No. 4U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Announces Foster Youth Housing Initiative

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) initiative (PDF - 64 KB), which is intended to prevent homelessness among youth involved with child welfare. This initiative allocates funds toward cross-system collaborations among community partners (i.e., public housing agencies, public child welfare agencies, continuums of care [e.g., nonprofit homeless providers, victim service providers, faith-based organizations]) to encourage them to coordinate effectively to identify, target, and connect eligible youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness to housing and related supports.

The initiative states that public housing agencies (PHAs) partnering with public child welfare agencies (PCWAs) can request housing choice vouchers (HCVs) in the form of tenant protection vouchers to help youth who meet eligibility requirements for up to 36 months.

To qualify for the program, youth must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Youth must be between 18 and 24 years old.
  • By age 16 or older, the youth has left or will leave foster care within 90 days, in accordance with a transition plan described in section 475(5)(H) of the Social Security Act.
  • The youth is homeless or is at risk of becoming homeless.

Youth who are pregnant and/or parenting are also eligible to receive assistance under this program, if they also meet the other eligibility requirements.

PHAs are eligible to participate in the program if they meet the following criteria:

  • They currently provide HCVs as opposed to the family unification program (FUP) vouchers.
  • They are partnered with a public child welfare agency.
  • They accept referrals of youth who are eligible for FUP.
  • They must determine if youth referred by the PCWA are eligible for HCVs.
  • They must amend the administrative plan in accordance with applicable program regulations and requirements, if needed.

PCWAs must comply with the following stipulations to qualify for the program:

  • They must have a system in place for identifying youth eligible for FUP within the agency's caseload and review referrals from the PHA and continuums of care.
  • Because this resource is limited, PCWAs must have a system of prioritization for youth eligible for FUP.
  • They must provide written certification to the PHA that a youth is eligible for FUP.
  • They must be committed to providing required supportive services. provides additional information on FYI, including where to direct queries, an informational webinar, and additional resources.