Philadelphia–Today the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) launched its rental assistance program for young adults who are in the process of aging out or have recently aged out of the child welfare system. The purpose of the Youth Rental Assistance and Support program is to provide rapid rental assistance and housing support to 60 youth per year who are facing homelessness due to obstacles, such as job loss or unresolved college housing. The $1 million contract for this program was recently awarded to Valley Youth House through a competitive RFP process.
From the first day of referral, the goal of Youth Rental Assistance is to strengthen housing security through housing stabilization services which include:
- Housing identification
- Move-in assistance
- Temporary rental and utility payment
- Budgeting support
- Education/employment assistance such as connection to the Community College of Philadelphia Octavius
- Catto Scholarship
- Life skills training
- Social support and relationship development guidance
- Referrals to community resources
Youth aged 20-21 who lack safe and affordable housing are eligible for this program. Youth Rental Assistance continues to provide services for youth after their exit from the formal child welfare system up to the age of 23.
The Youth Rental Assistance and Support program complements existing DHS housing resources including rapid rehousing programs and housing support for parenting young adults. DHS also works with Office of Supportive Housing and Philadelphia Housing Authority to assist youth aging out of DHS care in finding permanent housing.
Advocates and providers who work with young adults who are either currently in DHS care, or were recently discharged from placement, can refer youth by emailing the youth’s name, DHS Number, and contact information to DHS_Housing@phila.gov.
Quote from DHS Commissioner Kimberly Ali: “DHS is excited to expand housing supports for youth and young adults who have been in DHS care as they transition to adulthood and independent life. Stable housing can be an obstacle to this. We are committed to ensuring that young people successfully transition to adulthood and are better able to participate fully in college and career opportunities, without the worry of housing insecurities.”
Quote from Shani A. Meacham, J.D., Vice President, Philadelphia, Valley Youth House: “Valley Youth House has committed to providing housing resources to youth transitioning from dependent care in Philadelphia since 2005. The funding provided through the Youth/Adult Rental Assistance Program will allow us to increase our ability to provide impactful support to individuals who are aging out of foster care without permanent housing options. Valley Youth House has seen a significant impact on the employment and housing opportunities for youth who are preparing to transition to independence. Our dedicated staff is excited to be able to provide more supportive housing services and meet the increased needs of the youth during this time.”