Carson Unveils New Program in Milwaukee
HUD Secretary touts housing assistance for young Americans aging out of the foster care.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson made his way to Milwaukee’s Journey House on Friday morning to announce a new initiative targeting housing assistance for young people aging out of the foster care system.
Through the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, local housing authorities will be able to offer housing vouchers to young adults under the age of 25 who are about to or have recently left the foster care system and have nowhere to call home.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 20,000 youth, ages 18 to 24 years old, age out of foster care each year. The National Center for Housing and Child Welfare states around 25 percent of those young people experience homelessness within four years of aging out of the system. Currently, HUD has a program that helps families get housing vouchers who are at risk of losing their children due to homelessness.
Carson said during a press conference Friday he wants to address the lack of funding for at-risk youth who are on their own.
“This program will further HUD’s goal of ending youth homelessness,” Carson said. “No young person should experience homelessness once they set out on their own.”
Carson went on to say that through the program, there can be a more serious focus on services that will help put at-risk youth on the path to self-sufficiency.
“Stable housing lays the foundation for a stable family and a stable life,” Carson said. “If we stabilize our young people, we stabilize our nation.”
Carson made his announcement at Journey House, a facility in Milwaukee with programs that help empower families to move out of poverty. The center also has a youth development program. Journey House has been helping the community since 1969. Carson said Journey House is a facility that is already making a difference in the community and that the facility was the reason he chose to announce the new initiative in Milwaukee.
“They have concentrated on the young people,” Carson said of Journey House.
Dr. Michele Bria, CEO of Journey House, said she is honored Carson chose to announce the initiative at Journey House and that the facility is ready to provide more services to the Milwaukee community.
“If … you don’t know where you are going to sleep at night, you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, all those stressors impact your life and your life choices,” Bria said. “So we help provide tools. And if we can be a model for others, we are honored to do that and we are very grateful to do that.”
The Foster Youth to Independence Initiative legislation was created in four short months. Carson said young people can start to apply for vouchers starting Saturday.
“The success of America’s children is nothing less than the success of the nation,” he said.
Listen to the WPR report here.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson Announces New Foster Initiative In Milwaukee was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.