The Beat: Native and Rural Youth

January 24, 2013

At the 2012 Pathways to Adulthood conference in New Orleans, NCFY interviewed youth workers from all over the country to get their perspective on two questions: "What's your community doing to fight youth homelessness?" And, "What help do you need to keep fighting youth homelessness?"

Today we're proud to share five of those responses in a new video series. From rural towns to big cities, these are on-the-ground views of the reality of youth homelessness and the best efforts against it. We hope these videos will spur a discussion, so join us on Facebook and Twitter to tell us your own perspective: What is your community doing, and what does your community need to fight youth homelessness?

The series starts with Jeff Allen from Youth and Family Services in Watonga...

November 19, 2012

Photograph of a rural landscape.We’ve often heard people who work with homeless youth in rural areas talk about the particular challenges their young people face. These teens travel dozens of miles to get to school, to health clinics, to social service agencies. Often, there’s no youth shelter within hundreds of miles.

There’s also a dearth of information about what providers are doing, and can do, to help. To start to fill the gap, the National Alliance to End Homelessness surveyed rural youth programs and then surveyed them again, asking about two common strategies: host homes and outreach. The results and some recommendations are described in the Alliance’s brief, “...

November 15, 2012

Photograph of a teen mother cuddling her infant.The Family Spirit Trial for American Indian Teen Mothers and Their Children: CBPR Rationale, Design, Methods and Baseline Characteristics” (abstract), Prevention Science, Vol. 13, No. 5, October 2012.

What it’s about: This study describes preliminary findings from the Family Spirit trial, a home-visiting program designed to promote health and healthy behavior and reduce drug use among Native American teen mothers and their children. More than 300 pregnant Native American girls between the ages of 12 and 19 were randomly selected, in a process similar to a coin toss, to receive either the Family Spirit intervention along with...

November 01, 2012

Photograph of a young person dressed in traditional Native American clothing, including beads and feathers.November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, a time for celebrating the ancestry and traditions of Native cultures. Here are some resources that help young adults embrace their heritage and connect with peers throughout the year:

August 09, 2012

Photograph of a teen boy carrying a duffel bag and school books.With school back in session soon, this could come in handy: A new brief from the National Center for Homeless Education aims to help educators and service providers understand the federally funded education programs for migrant and homeless youth, so that young people eligible for both types of services are able to get assistance.

The brief includes short explanations of the Migrant Education Program and the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, both authorized by sections of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. You'll also find a list of terms that the two programs use to refer to young people, the different...

July 02, 2012

Indian Health Service logoThe Indian Health Service funds 11 regional centers across the country that treat Native youth with substance abuse problems. We spoke to Skye Bass, an IHS public health specialist, about the culturally specific approach used by the Youth Regional Treatment Centers.  

NCFY: What do the IHS-funded Youth Regional Treatment Centers offer Native youth that can’t be found in other substance abuse treatment centers?

Bass: The Indian Health Service-funded treatment centers are unique due to the fact that emphasis on American Indian and Alaska Native culture is a central component of treatment.

This emphasis is reflected in most, if not all, aspects of programming, including the design and location of the centers; Indian preference in...

June 26, 2012

Three Colorado youth involved in FYSB's Support Systems for Rural Homeless Youth program are featured in a new video series encouraging programs with safe beds for homeless youth to contact Colorado's Lutheran Family Services. In the 30-second videos, the youth explain how they became homeless, what homelessness was like, and how services could have helped them stay safe and in school.

When Tyler's parents divorced, he was forced to drop out of school and live on his sister's couch.


Gina ran away to escape violence in...

May 17, 2012

Chris Molinelli calls it “a happy accident.” In September, his Middletown, NY, youth shelter, A Friend’s House, received a 3 a.m. call from a young man who needed emergency housing. “He met all our criteria, but we couldn’t get him transportation,” Molinelli says.

Frustrated by that missed opportunity, Molinelli knew there had to be a way to help youth in similar situations. One of his partner organizations helped run a local after-hours hotline for homeless adults and families. Clients only had to dial 211 to access services. Molinelli set out to bring A Friend’s House under the 211 umbrella as a primary resource for homeless youth, and he achieved that goal on April 1.

By following Molinelli's lead and including your program in a local 211 network, you can connect your organization to other social services and make it easier for youth to contact you.

The 411 on 211...

March 12, 2012

The host home program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth run by Family and Youth Services Bureau grantee Avenues for Homeless Youth was spotlighted in a recent PBS video, "Feels Like Home: Helping Homeless LGBT Youth."

The Minneapolis, MI, program has placed over 100 youth in temporary homes since it started in the late 1990s. Volunteer host families welcome youth into their homes for an average of 8 months after going through extensive training and background checks. The program has become the prototype for a handful of similar programs around the country.

The video features Program Coordinator Rocki Simões, a host and youth brought together by the program, and Commissioner Bryan Samuels of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, who speaks about ACYF's...

March 08, 2012

The latest podcast from NCFY tells the story of Forrest Vest, a formerly homeless teen who got off the streets and started a youth-serving foundation in his hometown on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

After winning $500 in a local youth scholarship competition, he asked his longtime family friend Debbie Michael to help him put the windfall to good use. The two partners now have a steady stream of donations and media attention, bringing their For Rest Foundation closer to its goal of establishing a shelter for runaway and homeless youth.

Listen to Forrest and Debbie

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