Cuyahoga County, REACH Youth Action Board Launch Plan to Address Homelessness Among County Youth

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Media Contact:
Jennifer Ciaccia: (216) 250-5863; jciaccia@cuyahogacounty.us
Deonna Kirkpatrick: (216)432-3342; deonna.kirkpatrick@jfs.ohio.gov

 

REACHing for New Heights Plan empowers young adults to develop solutions to homelessness, housing insecurity

woman speaking at a podium next to a group of peopleCUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - Today, the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, the REACH Youth Action Board, A Place 4 Me Collaborative, and other community partners announced details of the REACHing for New Heights plan to address homelessness among the County’s young people. Thanks to a $3.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, these new initiatives were crafted by youth and young adults with lived experiences of housing instability, along with professionals within the foster care, homeless services, educational, and employment fields.

“This innovative strategy was designed to uplift the leadership and voice of young people who have experienced homelessness in their communities and to develop relevant solutions,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. “I am inspired by their collaborative dedication to action and to improving the outlook for the future.”

In October 2022, Cuyahoga County’s Office of Homeless Services (OHS) was selected to participate in the federal Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. The program provides renewal funding and direct technical assistance to support Cuyahoga County in creating a coordinated community plan to end youth homelessness. OHS partnered with the A Place 4 Me Collaborative and the REACH Youth Action Board to lead the planning process, which included more than twenty agencies from various local sectors. The process culminated last year in the REACHing for New Heights plan, which outlines Cuyahoga County’s aim to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness during the next three years.

"These projects will help lead us to tomorrow. They will meet YYA where they are at, and provide transitional housing to build skills, rapid rehousing to achieve financial, social-emotional, and well-being goals, and navigation support to connect to community resources,” said Christian Anderson, Chair, REACH Youth Action Board. “Navigators have been through the same trials, and that helps restore trust when navigating systems."

“This plan represents the vision, perspectives and hopes of young people in Cuyahoga County, who led the effort to re-imagine a better system of support,” said Melissa Sirak, Director of the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services.

REACHing for New Heights identifies two interventions to be funded with YHDP resources: the Transitional Housing-Rapid Rehousing (TH-RRH) program and the Navigation program. Both led by Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, the TH-RRH program will expand safe, stable housing options for young people under the age of 24, and the Navigation program will provide outreach, connection, and support to young people as they access resources and regain stability.

The core team overseeing planning and implementation includes the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, A Place 4 Me Collaborative, REACH Youth Action Board, and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. View the REACHing for New Heights plan.

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