In July, the Fledgling Fund committed $15,000 to help The Homestretch team facilitate ten regional screenings and roundtable discussions, bringing together government agencies around the issue of youth homelessness. These agencies include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education and others, all of which have an impact on the lives of youth experiencing homelessness. These regional events will take place in November 2015, and funds are still being raised to execute this innovative outreach.
The concept for this initiative came from work done in early 2015, where The Homestretch brought together representatives from 5 top federal agencies in Washington, DC (read more). The efforts of these agencies intersect, especially around issues of homelessness, but candid conversations between them are rare. This event in DC provided the opportunity for agencies to engage with each other and the problem, garnering incredible results.
“I think for lots of people, issues around youth homelessness are pretty abstract. And they're not associated with individual stories, and they're not associated with the kind of stories that one sees in this film. So I think it helps in moving this to a much more direct discussion about the realities of the lives of the young people.”
- Mark Greenberg, Assistant Secretary, Administration of Children and Families, HHS.
With the support of Bill Bentley, Associate Commissioner of the Family and Youth Service Bureau at HHS, we're leveraging momentum from this national event to make regional impact. In November, roundtable policy events will take place in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Discussions will revolve around policies put forth by agencies, including how they define homelessness, which affect the work of other groups and the lives of people they serve. To amplify the impact, we will use ITVS's online streaming platform (OVEE) to connect the conversations and share the experience with remote agency offices and nonprofit grantees who are funded by these agencies. The ultimate goal is to open channels of communication between previously siloed, and generate support for homeless youth.