Louisville Commits to Ending Youth Homelessness

Get involved with this coordinated effort, led by the Coalition for the Homeless, to end youth homeless:

MENTOR a Young Person





Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Louisville Youth Group

Orphan Care Alliance

Family and Children’s Place

HIRE a Young Person


Kentucky Youth Career Center

Mayor’s SummerWorks

YouthBuild Louisville

VOLUNTEER Time and Resources

Home of the Innocents

Kristi Love Foundation

Restorative Justice

TAYLRD (Centerstone)

Volunteers of America

YMCA Safe Place

YouthBuild Louisville

Family Scholar House

DONATE to Organizations Serving Homeless Youth

Coalition for the Homeless– please designate donations for agencies that help homeless youth

YMCA Safe Place Services 

 Emergency assistance, services and shelter for homeless persons under 22 years old available
24 hours through the Safe Place Hotline502-635-5233.

Open post

The challenge is on to curb youth homelessness

Keep it 100 Louisville

Courier Journal Updated 8:01 a.m. ET Aug. 17, 2017

mk Eagle, Guest Contributor

Most of us have never started our day wondering where we would sleep that night. We’ve never had to choose between paying rent and buying food or diapers. Never come home after an argument to find that the locks have been changed. Never sought refuge under an overpass or in a stranger’s car. But for young people all over our city, these struggles are an everyday reality.

In 2016, there were 443 homeless young adults (age 18-24) in Louisville, plus an additional 450 youth below age 18 served by YMCA Safe Place Services, for a total of 893 unaccompanied homeless youth. Louisville Metro has also identified 21,000 “disconnected youth” who are not engaged in education or employment. These young adults are equally in need of services in order to protect their own future opportunities, as well as lowering long-term costs to our community.

We know that failing to address the needs of homeless youth actually leads to higher future costs. The largest burdens on taxpayers are the effects of crime and lost earnings. The estimated annual cost for those 443 homeless young adults in Louisville is $15,782,835, which does not include what their own children will cost our community if we do not invest in these young parents’ futures. The likelihood of a lifetime of government assistance for young adults increases exponentially if their needs are not addressed by the age of 24. 

Strategic intervention for even a few of these young adults can drastically impact the cost to our community. Getting our disconnected youth to a place of stability – and particularly economic self-sufficiency – can help cover the costs of other youth in crisis and avoid millions in expenditures. 

On Aug. 1, the Coalition for the Homeless and a team of local service providers and community leaders launched the 100-Day Challenge, a project designed to stimulate intense collaboration, innovation, and execution, all in pursuit of an ambitious goal to house at least 100 homeless youth and young adults in Louisville by Nov. 8, 2017.

100-Day Challenges are part of a growing national movement to prevent and end youth homelessness in America. In Austin, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, 413 young people exited homelessness and were housed in just 100 days—exceeding those cities’ original goals.

Rapid progress and rapid change typically go hand in hand. We hope that this goal will inspire everyone – from community leaders to everyday citizens – to do their work differently, question assumptions about the systems they participate in, and think more innovatively.

Over the past several years, Louisville Metro has been successful in lowering the number of chronic street homeless and homeless veterans within our community through concerted efforts and funding for housing targeted to these populations.

Focusing on life-changing services versus meeting basic needs is the key to intervention and long-lasting success. We know that our compassionate city is filled with resources for struggling young adults, but we also know that the current system can be overwhelming to navigate. 

Ways for members of the community to get involved and help our city reach the 100-Day Challenge goal include donating to Rx: Housing to fund deposits and furniture, hiring or mentoring a homeless or disconnected young person, and advocating for more funding for the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. In addition, landlords can rent housing to a homeless person with a voucher and supportive services by contacting John Miles with the Office of Resilience and Community Services.

The 100-Day Challenge is also on Facebook (keepit100louisville) and a crowd funding website called YouCaring for those who wish to donate directly to the challenge.

Homelessness does not have to define the course of a young person’s life. Members of our Youth Advisory Board—young people who were once homeless themselves—now work, go to school, and raise their own children in safe, stable housing. They’ve dedicated their time and talent to the 100-Day Challenge. What will your commitment be?

mk eagle









mk Eagle is a library programs supervisor for the Louisville Free Public Library, Main Branch, and is the co-leader of the 100-Day Challenge Team.

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.

How Many Young Adults in Louisville Haven’t Completed High School?

Recently released data from the U.S. Census estimate there are nearly 10,000 18 to 24 year olds in Jefferson County, KY without a high school diploma or GED.




This represents a significant decline in the percentage of young women without a high school credential from 2005 to 2015 (from 26.26% to 13.35%). However, the percentage of young men who have not completed high school declined only slightly over the same period, from 18.3% to 16.5%.





Youth Experiences Survey: Exploring the Sex Trafficking Experiences of Louisville’s At-Risk Adolescents and Young Adults

The UofL Human Trafficking Research Initiative, developed in 2015, is an interdisciplinary, community-engaged research partnership that includes faculty and graduate students from the University of Louisville, made up of the Kent School of Social Work, the Department of Criminal Justice, the Speed School of Engineering, the School of Medicine, and the Brandeis School of Law. The goal of the Initiative is to be a central source of research on human trafficking to inform the decisions made by those who contact victims, survivors, and perpetrators of human trafficking including law enforcement, prosecutors, educators, medical services, and social services.

How are victims identified?

One of the first aims of the Initiative is to work with community partners to more
effectively identify victims of sex trafficking in our community. It can be difficult to identify victims due to general lack of public awareness, as well as a lack of awareness, or reluctance, of many exploited children to identify themselves as victims. In order to address these challenges and provide targeted services, the Initiative is launching a sex
trafficking prevalence study of youth and young adults who are most at-risk in our

What is the YES study?

Phase 1 of the YES study is currently launching in city of Louisville. The proposed study is based on Arizona’s successful YES prevalence study, which has been updated to include Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) questions. The Kentucky YES study will be conducted in three phases to include homelessness/runaway youth, justice-involved youth, and child welfare-involved. Youth and young adults aged 12-25 will be invited to complete the 10-minute survey, which asks questions about drug/alcohol use, family history, childhood trauma, mental and medical diagnoses, sexual exploitation, and service use. Participants will receive a $5 gift card and a resource guide as part of their participation in the study.

Why initiate this type of study?

The purpose of the study is to determine the prevalence of sex trafficking among youth and young adults in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Preliminary research obtained from
Arizona’s YES (Youth Experiences Survey) found of those surveyed, 35% of homeless
young adults identified as being a sex trafficking victim, with LGBTQ young adults
reporting higher rates of sex trafficking versus non-LGBTQ young adults.

The data from the Kentucky YES study will be published and shared statewide, to assist with the development of targeted, trauma-informed programs, to aid in the development of funding opportunities (e.g., collaborative grant proposals), and to highlight the prevalence of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of our most vulnerable youth populations.

How can you help?

If you are an organization that serves at-risk young people in the greater Louisville
community, and you are interested in being a potential survey site, please contact:

Dr. Jennifer Middleton
Co-Director of the UofL HTRI
Cell: 303-648-1825

Serving Homeless Students

According to the recently released Project Aware Issue Brief, Homeless Students and Mental Health Cultural Competency, youth and young adults experiencing homelessness suffer significant barriers to full participation in school. When homeless youth attend school they are unlikely to have eaten or slept sufficiently. They often lack medical and dental care, and are more susceptible to common illnesses like skin diseases and upper respiratory infections. Compared to their peers, they have higher rates of depression, low self-esteem, suicide, substance abuse, and anxiety. They are often alienated and experience difficulty making friends. In the classroom, they may have difficulty listening, asking for help, and following directions, and they often have to repeat grades, especially because they may rarely turn in homework and often suffer from one or more learning disabilities.

Effective Strategies for Schools

  • The first priority should be fulfilling basic needs. Many researchers stress it is misguided to try to get a person who lacks survival necessities to join extracurricular activities, do homework, or seek counseling.
  • To better identify these students, schools can reach unknown homeless youth through networks of visible/known homeless youth; coordinate with homeless shelters and church groups; post information about support for homeless students in areas where youth congregate; and coordinate with trusted educators, adults, and other school workers with whom homeless minors feel safe.
  • Implement a mentor program to model academic achievement as well as help homeless students with basic social skills and, if possible, tutoring. A mentor can help these students feel more connected to his or her school and lower their dropout risk.
  • Familiarize faculty and staff with laws related to abuse, neglect, and runaway students. Make it clear to faculty and staff when they are required to report charges to law enforcement or child protective services.
  • Create alternative opportunities for homeless youth to earn graduation credit. Offer partial credit for completed coursework. Consider programs that allow flexible school hours, like work-education programs (that allow students to earn money as well as credit) or computer-based training.

Ineffective Strategies

  • Suspension and expulsion are ineffective in improving outcomes for students experiencing homelessness.
  • Schools should not withhold enrollment until students can produce paperwork, such as immunization or school records. Youth seeking enrollment should be allowed to start classes as quickly as possible. It is also important not to force students to live on the streets or in homeless shelters before they are allowed McKinney-Vento Act protections.


For All Kids: How Kentucky is Closing Graduation Gap

Civic Enterprises and Johns Hopkins University recently released For All Kids: How Kentucky is Closing the High School Graduation Gap for Low-Income Students,  a report on how Kentucky achieved the highest graduation rate for low-income students and the smallest graduation rate gap between low-income and non-low-income students in the United States in 2013. 

Report Authors: Joanna Fox, Senior Policy Analyst at Johns Hopkins; Erin Ingram, Policy Advisor at Civic Enterprises; and Jennifer DePaoli, Senior Education Advisor at Civic Enterprises

Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 Focuses on At-Risk Students

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 includes several provisions that support state and district efforts to prevent students from dropping out of high school and to reengage out-of-school youth.

For instance, federal funds are available to schools to coordinate efforts to address aspects of school climate that contribute to students leaving school, such as school-based violence and excessive use of suspensions. These funds encourage schools to work with community-based organizations to introduce violence-prevention programs and train staff in disciplinary strategies that reduce exclusionary discipline.

Additional provisions address the needs of court-involved, homeless, disabled and foster care youth.

Read a brief overview of the ESSA here.

Can Louisville become a “Trauma Informed” Community?

Could we help teachers, parents, police officers, and any other adults who impact young people recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and the potential paths for recovery? What would our schools, jails, courts, workplaces and community look like if we all took a trauma informed approach to raising the next generation?

Learn more about Trauma Informed Care from Child Trends and tell us what you think in the comments below…


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