Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) provides foundational support to address youth and young adult homelessness across the country. These grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), began providing resources in 1974 and allowed local systems of care to be developed and shaped by the unique needs of each region, their available resources, and their local policy priorities. Remarkably similar systems of care emerged in local communities all over the U.S., including: street outreach, emergency shelter, aftercare, education and employment, health care, behavioral health, transitional housing, family intervention, and independent housing options. This continuum of care helps fully prepare youth to achieve successful outcomes: safe exit from homelessness, family reunification, establishment of permanent connection(s), employment, and sustainable independent living. The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA), funds three key pillars of intervention to help homeless youth:
- Street Outreach Programs provides education, treatment, counseling and referrals to vital services
- Basic Center Programs provide temporary shelter, counseling, family reunification services and aftercare services
- Transitional Living Programs & Maternity Group Homes provide longer-term housing with supportive services
View the full text of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.
Ohio RHY Programs and Providers
Basic Center Program (BCP)
Basic Center Program (BCP) works to establish or strengthen community-based programs that meet the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families. The programs provide youth up to age 18 with emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling, and referrals for health care. BCPs can provide 21 days of shelter for up to 20 youth and seek to reunite young people with their families, whenever possible, or to locate appropriate alternative placements. In addition to emergency shelter, many BCP grantees provide out-of-shelter services, including street-based services and home-based services for families with youth at risk of separation from their families. There are exceptions for jurisdictions that have different standards for licensing.
Transitional Living Programs & Maternity Group Homes
The Transitional Living Program and Maternity Group Homes fund community-based programs that address the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families. Both programs aim to increase young people’s safety, well-being, and self-sufficiency and to help them build permanent connections with caring adults.
Transitional living programs provide runaway and homeless youth with safe and appropriate shelter (usually up to 18 months), along with basic life skills, like money management, interpersonal skills, job skills and parenting skills (as appropriate). Projects also offer mental and physical health care and support educational advancement.
Maternity group homes are specialized transitional living programs that help pregnant and parenting homeless youth and their children. Maternity group homes provide the same services as transitional living programs, as well as skill building in parenting, child development, and family budgeting. Additionally child care, transportation, nutrition and health services, family planning, and pregnancy prevention services are available.
Street Outreach Program (SOP)
The Street Outreach Program enables organizations around the country to help young people get off the streets. To that end, the program promotes efforts by its grantees to build relationships between street outreach workers and runaway, homeless, and street youth. Grantees also provide support services that aim to move youth into stable housing and prepare them for independence. The program’s ultimate goal is to prevent the sexual abuse or exploitation of young people living on the streets or in unstable housing.