Settling in as the new Youth Housing Initiative Coordinator with COHHIO in this difficult time has been a rewarding challenge. A huge thank you to all of Ohio’s youth homelessness assistance providers that have been so welcoming and kind to me in this transition.
The importance of supporting Ohio’s vulnerable youth has become clearer than ever amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio’s transition aged youth are at a formative time in their life, full of rapid brain development, social and emotional transitions and critical relationship building, all while navigating the ever-changing impacts of COVID-19.
It’s critical that homelessness assistance providers have the resources they need and systems collaborations occur at state, regional and local levels. With this in mind I have spent much of my first few months in this new role, providing support, trouble shooting, idea sharing and engaging in technical assistance with providers. Any provider needing information or technical support can reach out to me directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the youth-dedicated training and technical assistance page on the COHHIO website by visiting: http://cohhio.org/programs/youth-initiative/.
In addition to supporting providers in daily practice, I am coordinating with multiple systems of care including working with the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Higher Education. We have coordinated a dedicated team and are taking a shared approach to working alongside communities as they prepare for back-to-school activities for our most vulnerable and marginalized youth.
Additionally, I’m participating in the Ohio Attorney Generals Linking Systems of Care work to highlight and elevate the many barriers Ohio’s transition aged youth and unaccompanied minors, experiencing homelessness, face when attempting to access critical resources. I continue to monitor and support the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Projects (YHDP) in Ohio who are doing innovative and impactful work as well as supporting our steadfast Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) providers.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that I have joined the training and technical assistance team for the Racial Equity Action Committee on Homelessness in Ohio (REACH Ohio) where I hope to develop trainings and guidance to forge equitable practices in the youth homelessness system.
COHHIO Youth Housing Initiative Coordinator