Allegheny County receives $3.5M grant to help reduce youth homelessness |
Valley News Dispatch

Allegheny County receives $3.5M grant to help reduce youth homelessness

Madasyn Czebiniak
Allegheny County Courthouse

A Tarentum-based domestic violence center has a number of programs that could benefit from an Allegheny County grant aimed at reducing youth homelessness.

Depending on the grant’s focus, Michelle Gibb, Alle-Kiski HOPE Center executive director, said there are different ways the grant could benefit her organization, which provides numerous homeless services supporting families such as an emergency shelter program and a rapid rehousing program.

“If it is youth 18 to 24, then we would work with the youth in securing permanent housing and then providing the supportive services necessary to keep them stably housed, and to move beyond that poverty level, looking for opportunities for retention and advancement,” Gibb said. “If it is youth homelessness under 18, then that would be any of our existing programs, our emergency shelter or rapid rehousing, working with families.”

Allegheny County received a $3.49 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, which supports a wide range of housing programs, including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing and other innovative housing models, the county said in a news release.

Allegheny County was one of 23 jurisdictions chosen to receive funding.

“Making sure that youth have appropriate places to live is a fundamental job of any community, and Allegheny County has long taken this issue very seriously,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in prepared remarks. “We are thankful that HUD is recognizing our efforts through this award, which will boost many of the supports and initiatives we have in place, as well as let us explore new solutions in ending youth homelessness.”

Elaine Plunkett, a spokeswoman with Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services, said it’s too early to determine which municipalities or organizations could benefit from the funding, but indicated it could extend to some organizations in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

As part of the grant requirement, DHS will first work with the Youth Action Board and community partners to come up with a plan to determine the most effective strategy for funding additional homelessness support programs, Plunkett said.

“Although plans are preliminary, Allegheny Valley Association of Churches and the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center will likely be involved with the planning process,” Plunkett said.

The Allegheny Valley Association of Churches couldn’t be reached for comment.

DHS will seek input to help build a plan for allocating the funding, the news release said. Anyone interested in being part of the process should email Cynthia Shields at [email protected].

“We have long relied on the input from our system-involved youth to help shape the supports that serve them, and we are grateful that this grant is a nod towards those efforts,” said DHS Director Marc Cherna said in prepared remarks.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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