A Way Home Washington’s (AWHWA’s) Centralized Diversion Fund (CDF) is a cost-effective, young person-centered solution to homelessness and housing instability that is already transforming the four Anchor Communities. Since its launch last August at the height of the pandemic, Yakima, Pierce, Spokane and Walla Walla counties have collectively housed more than 220 youth and young adult (YYA) households.
Diversion is a core component of AWHWA’s strategy to end youth and young adult homelessness in Washington. The CDF model assists individuals or households in quickly securing housing outside of the homelessness response system. Together, the young person and a trained provider tailor strategies that lead to safe and stable housing, coupled with one-time financial assistance when needed.
The CDF also serves as a tool for prevention. Young people who are experiencing housing instability can access the fund to stabilize their living situation before they ever enter homelessness.
Those working with young people in the Anchor Communities can get trained and certified to provide diversion services. AWHWA has been diligently ensuring that many non-traditional providers are trained and certified in addition to larger community providers. This way, the CDF is far-reaching and easily accessible for young people. School district, worksource, legal aid, service provider and shelter staff, as well as folks working in organizations designed primarily to serve young people who are BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color ) and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer) are among those being trained to directly access the CDF.
The first step to accessing diversion occurs when a young person seeks housing support in their community. This is followed by a service provider meeting with them to explore creative housing possibilities. If financial assistance is needed, it is offered through the CDF. The provider enrolls the young person into HMIS (Homeless Management Information System). Then the young person exits to safe and stable housing, and the provider follows up with them within fourteen days to update their new location.
To capitalize on the momentum of our Anchor Communities doing amazing work to house young people on May 20, we launched our CDF 30 in 30 Challenge— a 30 day period where Anchor Communities strive to complete 30 diversions each. So far, each community has found innovative ways to increase the number of housing placements while ensuring that the housing is safe, stable and most importantly, chosen by the young person.
To see how Anchor Communities are benefiting from the CDF and how much they are spending, click here to go to our Public CDF Dashboard.