The Maine State Housing Authority in Augusta is the recipient of a $3.3 million grant from the federal government to combat youth homelessness.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the grant as part of its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, which aims to strengthen local networks of housing options for young people younger than 25.
Figures from HUD estimate that Maine saw a 30 percent rise in homeless youth from 2014 to 2017.
“Homelessness is no way to start out in life for young people reaching adulthood,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a news release. “Today we make another critical investment in the futures of our youth, sparing them a life on the streets or in our shelters and placing them on a path to self-sufficiency.”
Maine was one of 23 states to receive a grant. In Connecticut, the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County was given $3 million, and in Massachusetts the communities of Springfield and Greenfield received a combined $4.3 million.
The total awarded by HUD – $75 million – represents a noteworthy increase over the $43 million given last year.
“The solutions to youth homelessness that are being built and tested through HUD’s YHDP program represent community collaboration at its best,” Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, said in the HUD news release. “We are confident that these communities, and their Youth Action Boards, will help lead us along the path to end youth homelessness in our country.”
Maine’s grant will help create a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to curtail youth homelessness, with particular emphasis on providing access to service options in rural communities. Once the CCR is in place, other nonprofit and municipal agencies will be able to apply for subgrants to establish compatible programs.