A Call to Act!

The CSYA Team has committed to participating in a Monthly Community Outreach. The CSYA mission is to bring transformational change for young adults. We believe in a collective approach to bring this mission to life. This month we decided to volunteer at St. Vincent De Paul to feed those in need a free meal with the Office of Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods. We, alongside other volunteers helped serve a hot dinner to over 200 people in need.

If you are in need of volunteers for anything please email our Director of Development, Breanna Carter: BCarter@CSYALouisville.org

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Pew Report: Amid coronavirus outbreak, nearly three-in-ten young people are neither working nor in school

Pew Research, July 2020


As COVID-19 cases have surged in the United States, young adults face a weakening labor market and an uncertain educational outlook. Between February and June 2020, the share of young adults who are neither enrolled in school nor employed – a measure some refer to as the “disconnection rate” – has more than doubled, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center. Most of the increase is related to job loss among young workers.

At the beginning of 2020, the share of Americans ages 16 to 24 who were “disconnected” from work and school mirrored rates from the previous year. But between March and April, the share jumped significantly, from 12% to 20%. By June 2020, 28% of youths were neither in school nor the workplace.

While not the highest on record, June’s 28% disconnection rate – which translates into 10.3 million young people – is the highest ever observed for the month of June, dating back to 1989 when the data first became available. This trend is one indicator of the difficulties young people are facing as they transition into adulthood during a global pandemic.

Read complete report….

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CSYA’s Strategies for Setting and Achieving Common Goals

The Coalition Supporting Young Adults creates and implements a shared agenda through eight key activities:

  1. Engage Young People as Decision Makers: Create opportunities for impacted youth to tell their stories, identify workable solutions, and develop advocacy and leadership skills. Fully integrate the Social Justice Youth Development Model into the processes used by CSYA to create change.
  2. Establish Collective Accountability: Lead the process of setting community-wide goals and tracking progress in an annual report to the community that includes current resources (program and fiscal map), progress toward benchmarks, indicators of education completion and housing stability, and recommendations for further action.
  3. Develop a Comprehensive Funding Strategy: Develop a cohesive plan that outlines funding priorities based on a fiscal map of current and potential resources committed to OY efforts from public and private, local and national funders. Establish relationships with potential funders and invite collaborative or targeted asks.
  4. Advocate for Policy Change: Identify public and education policies and procedures at local and state levels that inadvertently create barriers for disconnected youth. Mobilize young adults and the boarder community to advocate for changes, clarifications, or additions when needed.
  5. Professional Development: Train CSYA members’ staff on effective strategies for reconnecting young people to education, employment, housing, and other supports. Create opportunities for collaboration between organizations and identify potential partnerships that streamline or expand services.
  6. Expand community awareness of the issues and effective strategies impacting OY through media, speaking engagements, community conversations, and connections with other local, regional, and national initiatives.
  7. Create ongoing cross-agency work groups focused on improving the education, employment, housing, and health & wellness services and systems affecting OY. Membership on each work group include organizational decision-makers, frontline staff, and youth from “anchor” and related organizations.
  8. Promote best practice programs and services such as:
  • Emergency shelters with support to transition to stable housing and employment;
  • New pathways to education attainment for over age/under credit and other nontraditional learners;
  • A transportation navigator system equipped to open access to multiple options;
  • “No Wrong Door” network of services available at nontraditional times (nights, weekends);
  • Training of adults to advocate for access to education;
  • Career exploration and job coaching services;
  • Opportunities to “learn and earn” concurrently;
  • Additional supports for youth and young adults with special education needs, experiences with homelessness, or who have been involved in the child welfare system;
  • Connection to trained adult volunteers serving as anchors in a web of support.
  • Mental health supports, positive youth development, and trauma-informed care.
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Developing and Demonstrating Anti-racist Practices

Wednesday, July 1
2:00 -3:00 pm

Aishia A. Brown, PhD, University of Louisville
Nikki Thornton, True Up
Lacey McNary, McNary Group

How is racism showing up in your work with youth? Join us as advocates lifting youth voices for equity and resolutions.  There will be time for sharing your experiences, acknowledging where we are as a community, and establishing a vision for where we want to be.

CSYA Statement of Unity: The Coalition Supporting Young Adults is committed to transforming the way Louisville cares for vulnerable youth and young adults. Therefore, we stand in unity with our black and brown communities and allies who are vocalizing concerns and demands for equitable, anti-racist, and humane treatment and advancements. Furthermore, we commit to speaking up and addressing all forms of injustice, brutality, and discrimination. 

Courier Journal Highlights Community’s Disconnected Youth

Mandy McLaren @mandy_mclaren 

THREAD: I filed this story last Thursday, hours before the first night of protests in Louisville. It was published on Monday, but, understandably, I doubt you saw it. Here’s one big reason why I hope you will still find time to read & share. 

How the coronavirus pandemic multiplies struggles for Louisville’s disconnected youth Without increased support for the out-of-school, out-of-work young adults, experts fear the worst is yet to come.

Last night, while covering the #LouisvilleProtests, I found myself on East Broadway, under an interstate overpass. And while I was doing my best to capture the powerful demonstration that was unfolding, I turned and locked eyes with a young man.

He wasn’t there to protest. He was just walking by. Instantly, I was jolted by the realization: I knew him. 

We met last summer, when I was spending many hours at the YMCA SafePlace drop-in center for homeless youth. Unlike other youths there who knew each other by name & used SafePlace as a spot not just for food and internet, but also social connection, this young man kept to himself.

When I saw him there on Tuesday nights, he typically grabbed a few slices of pizza and sat at a table, always aware of his surroundings. One evening, he asked if it would be OK to sit by me. And little by little, he started talking. 

I wish we weren’t in a pandemic right now and I was in the newsroom so that I could dig out my notebook and truly tell this young man’s story with the detail it deserves. 

What I do remember clearly is that he had been homeless for quite some time — sleeping, often, in junkyard cars, he said. He talked about having to make sure he woke early, getting out of dodge before the sun rose and was caught trespassing. 

He was older than the other youths at SafePlace. He said he had spent a few years in one of the Carolinas — I can’t remember which — where he had a girlfriend, a job and a roof over his head. 

But things with the girlfriend didn’t work out. And he felt the tug of Louisville, the city he grew up in, pulling him back. So he returned. 

He stayed short on details about what followed once he got back, but it was clear that whatever happened, he was making the choice at the time we met to distance himself from his own family. He told me he was trying to get clean. 

I’m not sure the last time I saw him at SafePlace. And at this point, I haven’t been back over there in months, so he could still be stopping by. When I saw him last night, it was clear by his appearance that he was still homeless. 

Even though I was wearing a baseball cap and a mask, it was clear he recognized me, too. Over the protesters’ chants, I tried to explain who I was, to see if he understood our connection. He smiled and nodded. Maybe he knew. Maybe he was just being polite. 

I said something silly like “Are you OK? Are you safe?” and he nodded some more. Then, with no further conversation possible amid the chaos, we waved goodbye and he continued on his way. 

I watched as he, a young black man, walked on, his body directly between the shouting protesters and a line of armed police officers. I wish I knew what he made of it all. 

I’m recounting this to you now because if the pandemic and the protests have reminded me of anything, it’s this: Louisville’s disconnected youth are hurting. And whether they’re shouting their pain at a protest or holding it all in, they are counting on city leaders to help. 

So again, here’s that story you probably missed: How the coronavirus pandemic multiplies struggles for Louisville’s disconnected youth 

Here’s what @louisvillemayor is proposing as a starting point: Mayor Greg Fischer administration seeking $1.5M to support Louisville’s disconnected youth

And here’s the in-depth series I wrote for the @courierjournal last year that brought these important voices to the forefront: Louisville has large number of youth who are out of school or work.

Advocating for Disconnected Youth

We are experiencing unprecedented challenges in Louisville. For the one in ten of our young people who are approaching adulthood disconnected, the challenges are particularly daunting.

Mayor Fischer has proposed in his current budget $1.5 million for the Office of Resilience and Community Services and KentuckianaWorks to help prepare our community’s disconnected and vulnerable youth. The funding, redirected from prior allocations to the now closed Youth Detention Center (total prior budget of $8+ million), will make a significant positive difference.

We need your help to get this budget passed.

Join us in asking Louisville Metro Council to:

  • Fully fund the development of a one-stop employment and education center for reengaging vulnerable youth with a blend of resources from Louisville Metro ($1 million reallocated from the closed Youth Detention Center), partner organizations, and federal and state funds.
  • Allocate Louisville Metro External Agency Funds to programs supporting disconnected youth ($500,000 of funding from the closed Youth Detention Center).

Additional actions Louisville Metro can take today:

  • Task Evolve 502 with allocating 15% of scholarship funds to young people who are not in school.
  • Establish an Education Committee of the Louisville Metro Council.
  • Partner with private funders to invest in dropout prevention both in schools and in the community.
  • Make information on the employment opportunities for youth and young adults accessible. Identify employers hiring through SummerWorks, Academies of Louisville and the Internship Academy.

What you can do:

Download and Share

Sample Letter

Dear Council Person:

Skilled, credentialed, healthy, and engaged young people are essential in our effort to restart Louisville’s economy post-COVID. However, a significant group of Louisville’s youth and young adult are not on track. Organization Name calls on city leaders to invest in Louisville’s “disconnected” youth.

In Louisville, approximately 8,900 (10.8%) of all 16- to 24-year-olds are considered disconnected, neither in school nor working due to learning challenges, poverty or homelessness, foster care or juvenile justice involvement, structural racism, mental health problems, or related issues.  Additionally, more than 9,800 18 to 24-year olds in Louisville lack a high school diploma. These disruptions in education and employment overshadow the opportunities young people have to learn, to become financially independent, and to fully participate in our community.

The economic crisis caused by COVID will increase the number of disconnected youth in our community. Overall, young people are more likely to have been working in COVID-affected service and retail sectors and account for nearly half of all workers paid minimum wages or less. They are less likely to have access to health insurance, paid sick leave, or savings to endure a recession. One in five young people in Louisville experienced poverty growing up and now report their incomes provide essential or the only support to the household.

The sudden and unprecedented drop in school and work opportunities for young people is also likely contributing to the recent increase in youth-involved crime in our community.  Closing the Louisville Metro Youth Detention Center was an essential step that now challenges us as a community to develop more effective strategies to help struggling young people get back on track.

While organization name recognizes the unprecedented constraints of both public and private funders, we call all our leaders to take the following specific actions to address Louisville’s growing and critical number of disconnected youth:

  • Fully fund the development of a one-stop employment and education center for reengaging vulnerable youth, with a blend of resources from Louisville Metro ($1 million reallocated from the closed Youth Detention Center), partner organizations, and federal and state funds.
  • Allocate Louisville Metro External Agency Funds to programs supporting disconnected youth ($500,000 of funding from the closed Youth Detention Center).
  • Task Evolve 502 with allocating 15% of scholarship funds to young people who are not in school.
  • Establish an Education Committee of the Louisville Metro Council.
  • Partner with private funders to invest in dropout prevention both in schools and in the community.
  • Make information on the employment opportunities for youth and young adults accessible. Identify employers hiring through SummerWorks, Academies of Louisville and the Internship Academy.

It is the right time to reverse the decades-long dis-investments in youth programs in Louisville and to focus on the growing number of disconnected youth in our community. The economic impact of re-investing far outweighs the cost. Each young person reconnected will generate approximately $105,500 in new tax revenue and will save taxpayers $65,230 in social supports.


Ending Youth Homelessness

Louisville Commits to Ending Youth and Young Adult Homelessness by 2020  

August 1, 2017 – A team of partners, led by the Coalition for the Homeless, has been selected to represent Louisville in a 100-Day Challenge to accelerate efforts to end youth homelessness. This work is made possible through funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and private philanthropic partners. Rapid Results Institute (RRI) and HomeBase will offer technical support to the team, as they strive to meet their goals. 

A 100-Day Challenge is a project where a community decides together on an incredibly ambitious goal: to end experiences of homelessness for a large number of young people in their community. With just 100 days to meet their goal, everyone from community leaders down to front-line workers are invited to do their work differently, change systems and innovate. In order to make great strides, communities must take on great challenges. The limited timeframe, the high-profile effort, and the intensive support from RRI results in communities progressing on three major tasks: problem solving, innovation, and partnership-building. 

The Coalition for the Homeless’s work to understand youth homelessness, launched initially in 2013, soon led to the creation of the Coalition Supporting Young Adults (CSYA) and a community mapping of existing resources for homeless youth, including youth shelter; drop in centers; and education, employment and housing opportunities. This mapping process enabled CSYA and the community to identify gaps and potential opportunities to re-allocate existing resources. The collaborative work of CSYA has already supported the development of new resources including two new drop-in centers, a community-wide plan to reengage out of school youth and a professional development program to train a cohort of “connectors” who can quickly link homeless and disconnected youth. In addition to CSYA, a Youth Advisory Board, an Education/Employment Collaborative, and a Homeless Youth Committee consisting of 41 community leaders have also all been formed. These entities will be crucial as Louisville continues to address youth homelessness during the 100-Day Challenge.

“Our plan and implementation must not only address the housing needs of approximately 868 youth, but also create preventive solutions to keep the large number of precariously housed youth counted by JCPS not only out of the shelters, but in a safe setting that allows them to thrive,” says Natalie Harris, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless in Louisville. “One of our main focuses will be in creating transitional and rapid rehousing programs integrated with education and employment.”

Coalition for the Homeless

There are many ways to get involved with this effort to end youth homelessness. Click here to learn more: 

MENTOR a Young Person

HIRE a Young Person

VOLUNTEER Time and Resources 

DONATE to Organizations Serving Homeless Youth

About the Coalition for the Homeless

The Coalition for the Homeless, located at 1300 S. 4th Street, Suite 250, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to prevent and eliminate homelessness in Louisville. The Coalition has a three-pronged approach to this mission: advocacy, education, and coordination of their 31 member agencies that provide a variety of services to the homeless throughout the city. The Coalition for the Homeless and 41 partners began a city-wide effort to end youth and young adult homelessness in 2017. You can change a life. Be a mentor or hire a young adult in need in our community. To learn more about the Coalition visit www.louhomeless.org, call (502) 636-9550, or find The Coalition for the Homeless on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LouHomeless or on Twitter @louhomeless.

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