Centralized Diversion Fund (CDF) program houses nearly 170 young people since launch!
There is an underlying misconception in a lot of youth work: People need a whole myriad of services before they can be housed. But in its first 7 months of being launched, the Centralized Diversion Fund (CDF) program is already proving that to be a myth. CDF has already housed 161 young people across all four Anchor Communities in creative, immediate and unique ways that are often not possible with the traditional homeless housing system.
The CDF supports young people who are experiencing housing instability in finding quick, sustainable solutions to those barriers, often preventing homelessness before it starts. At its core, CDF is a strengths-based approach where providers partner with young people to creatively explore and plan for housing options outside of the already taxed homelessness housing system. This is done by providing swift, low-barrier financial assistance for housing-related hiccups when needed.
Across the four communities, initial demographic data is showing that young people who identify as Hispanic/Latinx represent a large portion of requests at (27%). White young people represent 40 percent of requests, and Black or African American represent 22 percent. (Data got you curious? Check-out the CDF Dashboard here to see real-time data including more on demographics).
It is all but clear that one population benefiting from CDF most so far is young people who are pregnant and/or parenting, who make up 44 percent of all requests submitted so far. Young families are often left out of many services designed for young people – but that doesn’t happen with CDF.
In one example, a young parent with a newborn had gotten approved for an apartment but had nowhere to stay until their move-in date that was 3 weeks away. CDF was used to purchase a hotel for that time so this young family could be off the streets and safe until their move-in date.
CDF can be used for basically anything – provided that the client meets eligibility and there’s a quick and direct pathway to housing outside the homelessness system. Since August, the Anchor Communities have used the flexibility of the program to get creative with housing young people. That includes, but is not limited to:
- Helping college students find/maintain stable housing. One young person was staying in shelter and had just enrolled in their local community college. After finding a roommate and place to live closer to campus, CDF was used to help with move-in costs and furniture. They were housed shortly after.
- Supporting folks exiting the foster care system. Another young person had just enrolled in extended foster care after exiting foster care (EFC) forced them to stay in a shelter. They were able to identify an apartment to live in that would be supported by EFC ongoing, but just needed CDF to help with the administrative costs that the EFC was not able to pay for.
- Reuniting/reconnecting families – near and far. CDF was used to help a young person relocate to Puerto Rico, where they would reunite with their family, after the young person entered housing instability due to COVID. All that was needed was confirmation from the family in Puerto Rico, plane ticket and plan.
- Stabilizing the young person’s family. We already talked about how CDF is creatively housing current and expectant parents, but CDF can also have a ripple effect of benefit for other people in the young person’s network. In one example, a young person wanted to move in with their family member who just didn’t have a big enough space for them. Since this family member only received SSI benefits, they couldn’t afford the necessary re-housing fees for finding a space that worked – even with the young person helping with costs ongoing. CDF was used for the move-in costs for this family to be able to reunite with each other.
Diversion changes the nature of service delivery by putting the power in the hands of the clients and honoring the fact that they know most about what they need. It allows space for creative housing solutions like those listed above, and others that are yet to even be thought of. Diversion’s low-barrier approach also makes it easier for clients to get the help they need in a more timely manner compared to other assistance programs because they don’t have to go.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Centralized Diversion Fund program and how it’s impacting Anchor Communities, please email us at email@example.com.
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