Q: What is A Way Home Washington (AWHWA)?
A: A Way Home Washington is a statewide movement to prevent and end youth and young adult (YYA) homelessness through awareness, connection, and action. In partnership with the Office of Homeless Youth (OHY), service providers, local communities, and young people with lived experience, we will build a system to serve the estimated 13,000 unaccompanied young people who are experiencing homelessness or are precariously housed in Washington state.
We are a public/private partnership between the government and the philanthropic community. We do not receive any public funding to do our work and are committed to not diverting public funding from service providers. In fact, one of the overall goals of AWHWA is to add capacity to local communities and providers.
Q: What is the ultimate goal of the Anchor Community Initiative?
A: Washington state is in a unique position to end the crisis of youth and young adult homelessness. We know there are young people who are homeless in every county of our state, and yet there are services to support these young people in only 50% of our counties.
Through the ACI, AWHWA and the OHY will build a statewide system that is data-informed, performance-based, mission-driven, and holds young people and families at the center. Young people should not have to leave their home community just to secure safe housing. We want local communities, elected officials, and all citizens to view these young people not as “those kids,” but “our youth” who need and deserve support. We want to build the “Yes” to “Yes” system so that when a young person says, “Yes, I want help,” the local community has the resources, capacity and resolve to say “Yes, come inside!”
Q: How will Anchor Communities be selected?
A: Communities that are selected will be based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:
- Clarity of proposal
- Geographic diversity
- Current capacity
- Cross-sector support to achieve the goal
- Data availability
- Disproportionality within the system
Q: What role will AWHWA play in Anchor Communities?
A: We will be the backbone organization, coordinating the various dimensions and collaborations of the initiative. We will provide support, consultation, coaching, and resources to the Anchor Communities while ensuring accountability to the ultimate goals of this initiative.
Q: What type of support will a community receive?
A: The community will receive support and guidance from AWHWA’s ACI team which includes: a Project Director, Data Manager, Communications Manager, and a Lead Coach. The ACI will receive customized, on-the-ground support from this team, as well as a team of experienced consultants.
Some flexible funding is also available to assist in removing systemic barriers. These are not service dollars, but capacity building support to ensure that each Anchor Community can develop a robust plan, advocate to local and state elected officials, and participate in the public relations campaign. Sustainability and capacity building are essential components to ensure the work is sustained beyond the time-limited ACI.
Q: What is available to communities that do not get selected in the first cohort?
A: The ultimate vision of the Anchor Community Initiative is for 12-15 communities to participate and build their capacity to ensure they can say “Yes” when young people ask for support and help. However, all communities across Washington will benefit from the Anchor Community Initiative, including those not selected in the first cohort.
- All lessons learned from Anchor Communities will be shared across the state
- The ACI Public Relations campaign will elevate the issue of YYA homelessness, share innovative programs and progress with the broader public, and work with local media to educate their audiences about the issue and solutions to youth homelessness
Q: How do I submit the RFP?
A: Please save the document to your computer and attach it in an email to Jim Theofelis, email@example.com
Q: For the lived experience Core Team member, is this someone who should be currently under the age of 24 or can it be an older adult that has lived experience? Does this person have to be currently experiencing homelessness?
A: Ideally, we would like representatives from both groups, a youth/young adult and alumni that is over the age of 24. We will be prioritizing youth that are in our current youth homeless system. We have stipends for persons with lived experience.
Q: When are performance measures expected to be met for that selected ACI?
A: Nothing has been done like this anywhere across the nation. Our key funder understands that there’s a ramping up process to this collective impact work. We will start collecting and analyzing data and will not hold communities accountable for benchmarks for about three to six months after launch. We will be encouraging communities to collect data on prevention, emergency response, and long-term housing. In addition, we will want to pull data to ensure we are addressing equity (e.g. how many youth of color and LGTBQ+ are housed). We will have a data manager who will also support Anchor Communities with using data, e.g. collection, analysis and action.
Q: How flexible is your process to moving with local communities and partners and not just implementing a master plan that is one size fits all?
A: We will help communities create a master plan to build a “Yes to Yes” system but each plan will be individually tailored to that community. We will provide a framework and accountability, but the communities are really at the center of this initiative and will be the main entity of driving the change process. We will have enough of a “curriculum,” or framework to ensure communities are broadly moving through the same process to really capitalize on our peer to peer model. We are committed to not over facilitating or dominating the work. It is important to note that we are aligning with the metrics and benchmarks from the United State Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness (USICH).
Q: Would letters from local legislators be helpful?
A: That would be helpful, but it is not required. It would show us that your community has the legislative support to help us get budgets and key legislation passed.
Q: How will the ACI timeline deal with finding or spreading resources for long term housing to underserved and rural communities?
A: Having minimal resources for long term housing won’t disqualify a community. We are going to look at prevention, emergency services, and long-term housing for each community and determine what is needed. We will be looking at programs such as host homes and prevention flex dollars, but we want to think creatively. If we only look at securing buildings, then we would not meet our goal of ending youth homelessness by 2022. One of the great opportunities with the ACI is rethink our approach to preventing and ending YYA homelessness. We expect that one key strategy must be increasing and improving our Prevention strategies-how do we keep more young people from even entering a Drop-In Center or experiencing the streets.
Q: Would a letter of support from the Core Team show commitment or should we just cut and paste their signatures to the RFP?
A: You can attach that commitment letter in lieu of application signatures. You can also cut and paste the signatures in the RFP and attach the letter.