The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made available vouchers specific to youth from the child welfare system titled the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative (FYI). These vouchers allow priority to be given to eligible youth and are now made available “on demand.” In the past, eligible youth have had to compete with all eligible applicants for housing vouchers, and these typically would go to families. These vouchers are available for 36 months.
Eligible youth are between the ages of 18-24 and left foster care at age 16 (excludes adopted youth) or are still in care and will be exiting within 90 days to independence. Eligibility is not limited to single individuals - pregnant and parenting youth are eligible as long as they do not have an open child welfare case. A youth’s annual income must be below 30% of median family income for the area, as determined by HUD.
Vouchers are portable so even if a voucher is not available in your county, assistance might be provided.
For youth needing housing assistance, a referral is made through the Coordinated Entry system (CES). The Coordinated Entry contacts by region and county can be found here. Once referred, the CES agency will complete a pre-screening tool with youth and connect the eligible youth with the appropriate level of housing services. Once a youth receives a voucher, supportive life skills services are provided.
A map of counties in which these vouchers are available through the Public Housing Authority can be found here.