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City Adds Beds, Services for Homeless Youth

In response to a rapid increase in youth homelessness, Philadelphia announced Tuesday that it will dedicate $700,000 to pay for additional beds, job training, and employment and counseling support targeting people 18 to 24.

“We are here to tell our most vulnerable young people, our children, our youth, that they matter, that we care, that we are there for them,” said Councilwoman Helen Gym, who with Council colleagues and Mayor Kenney’s administration secured the new funding. “They won’t face their challenges alone. We’ll be standing up as a city with them.”

At last count, 527 unaccompanied young adults lived in emergency or transitional housing in the city, and a point-in-time count found 25 sleeping on the streets. Those who track youth homelessness say the number of young people with “unstable housing” is much higher, likely 4,000 to 6,000.

 In the last four years, the number of high school students in Philadelphia who have experienced homelessness has increased 73 percent. That works out to one of every 20 high school students in the city.

Last year, 252 young adults aged out of the foster care system, many without a permanent place to live.

The $700,000 contract will go toward 50 new beds, job training, and employment support for 75 homeless youth, and counseling and mentoring for 40 LGBTQ youth.

Most of the money comes out of the city’s general fund, with some additional dollars from the Office of Homeless Services’ budget.

Five private providers were contracted to expand services and shelter: the Attic Youth Center, Covenant House PA, Pathways PA, Valley Youth House, and Youth Service Inc.

Donald Jackson, 23, was kicked out of his home by his mother when he was 18.

Jackson couch-surfed for a few months before landing at Covenant House, a shelter for young adults. He was lucky. The shelter turns away more than 500 people each year because of lack of space.

Jackson worked two jobs to get himself back on his feet.

Now he has his own apartment and works at Action Wellness, a nonprofit helping people living with chronic illness.

“Not everyone is fortunate enough to handle responsibilities, bills, the things an 18-year-old, a 21-year-old even, usually has people to help them deal with,” Jackson said. “It’s so important to provide that underlying support. At 18 you’re trying to figure out your life, and then even at 21 – who’s responsible at 21?”

The 16th Employment Supports Symposium: Employment First, Employment Now! (Two-Day Event)

Networks for Training and Development, Inc., in conjunction with Philadelphia DBHIDS, proudly presents the 16th Employment Supports Symposium: “Employment First, Employment Now!”

The disability services system has changed by leaps and bounds since the days of hushed voices and institutions, but there is still a lot of work to do in order to make true community integration a reality for all, even those with the most significant disabilities. Come and hear about the exciting opportunities for systems change provided by Employment First policies, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and recent final Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) rule. The opportunities for meaningful systems change are great, and community integration for all, no matter their level of need, is closer than ever.

Nominations Sought for Points of Transformation Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 16th annual Points of Transformation Awards to be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. We welcome nominations of those direct service professionals who have committed their careers to supporting people with intellectual disabilities and exemplify the Philadelphia Intellectual disAbility Services motto, “It’s all about community!” Consider the people you work with who are models of excellence, compassion, commitment, growth, and achievement.

To nominate an individual, simply fill out the nomination form and submit it to the address listed below. All nominations must be received by Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. No extensions will be given.

There will be one winner in each of the following categories:

  • Residential: A person who is meets the individual needs of each resident and makes sure safe, healthy choices are provided to attain an “everyday life” in meaningful experiences and loving relationships.
  • Employment: A person who assists in matching an individual with a job position that provides fair pay, benefits, positive relationships with co-workers and provisions for a rewarding environment.
  • Life Sharing: A person or family who provides a loving home and environment that opens opportunities for life and loving family experiences.
  • Support/Service Coordination This person helps identify, locate coordinate and monitor community and system supports of highest possible quality while respecting each person’s right to privacy and personal autonomy.
  • Early Intervention: This individual works with families in meeting the developmental needs of their children by assisting them in use of community services, supports and addressing their concerns.
  • Treatment Staff: This is a health care professional (nurse, behavior therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, nutritionist) who works with individuals and staff around first aid, healthy foods, weight loss, diabetes care, exercise, or behavioral triggers.
  • Habilitation: A direct staff professional who supports and works with an individual in day community settings.
  • Kathy Sykes “It’s all about community!” Award: This person exemplifies our mission to create, promote and enhance the supports and services available to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Please return completed nominations to:

Wendy Williams, MSW
Public Awareness Coordinator
701 Market Street, Suite 5200
Philadelphia, PA 19106

For further information, please contact Wendy Williams at wendy.williams@phila.gov or 215-685-4680.

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