Agencies seek $2-million federal grant to help homeless youth

Published: Mar. 12, 2018 at 5:34 PM CDT
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When homeless youth need assistance, they often come to the Rare Breed.

"We are carving out our little niche with the Rare Breed. We meet youth where they are at," said Samantha Sudduth.

While this may the most visible agency to these kids, there are actually multiple organizations in the city advocating for them- working toward getting them places to stay and equipping them with the tools they need to succeed.

"Locally we are really good at collaborating. I think other communities don't necessarily want to all work together or it is not as easy in other communities," stated Amanda Stadler, Neighborhood, and Housing Stabilization Specialist at Community Partnership of Ozarks.

Some of those organizations include Community Partnership of the Ozarks, The Kitchen Inc, Great Circle, Empowering Youth, and Missouri Career Center.

On behalf of the agencies, the City of Springfield is set to apply for up to $2-million dollars through the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project, or YHDP.

Stadler said, "If you have had sort of a dream list of projects that agencies are in our community say, 'We really love to do this, we really don't have the is really to fund that kind of ideas."

"A grant for a significant size would give us the opportunity to work with new and different kinds of housing maybe that are tailored towards youth whereas some of the adult programs don't work as well as youth," Sudduth said.

The city will be competing against many much-larger cities across the country. If awarded to the city, the funding would create more of a concentrated umbrella effort toward finding solutions- and implementing them.

Sudduth explained, "Then, all of us can be at the table saying here are what the issues are. Here are the issues with Springfield Public Schools. Here is the issue of the poverty we are seeing.

She added, "This program works, but let's try something new and innovative. And that is what we are looking to do is see how we can think outside the box to end youth homelessness instead of staying in our one box. "

It will be sometime in the fall before the city finds out if it is awarded the grant money.