The Miami-Dade Youth Homelessness Initiative (YHI) is a community-wide, multi-sector effort to create a locally designed, comprehensive system of care to prevent and address youth homelessness in Miami-Dade County. Our shared mission is to create a community dedicated to preventing and ending youth homelessness. Youth homelessness is defined as individuals between the ages of 13 to 24 who are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian and who are experiencing housing instability.
The YHI membership is composed of over 50 partners, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, foundations, and service providers. The Initiative is rooted in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Framework To End Youth Homelessness and includes committees that address the core outcome areas of Stable Housing, Well-Being, Permanent Connections, and Education and Employment. In addition to these four core outcome areas, the YHI also includes four additional committees focused on the following: Funding, Data & Research, Public Relations and Outreach, and a Youth Voice Advisory Council. Our Youth Voice Advisory Council helps our community to ensure that youth perspective is not only included, but prioritized as we develop the system of care.
The lead organizations of the Youth Homelessness Initiative are Miami Homes For All and Project UP-START, the Homeless Education Program of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Miami Homes For All and Project UP-START are supported by the 12 members of the Steering Committee who are also the Co-chairs of the eight Issue-Area Committees. The members of the Steering Committee represent the following organizations: University of Miami Office of Civic and Community Engagement, University of Miami Children and Youth Law Clinic, Florida Foster Care Review, Educate Tomorrow, Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Project UP-START, Aqua Foundation for Women, Casa Valentina, The Children's Trust, Jackson Health Services, Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services, and South Florida Behavioral Health Network. In addition to these members, the Steering Committee receives technical assistance, support, and instruction from Megan Albertson of Fetch Data LLC on systems change techniques reflecting Collective Impact and the ABLe Change Framework.
The overarching objectives of the YHI are to:
Improve the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of residents of Miami-Dade County regarding the root causes of youth homelessness and the solutions to prevent and end youth homelessness
Design a comprehensive system of care that delineates our community’s response to preventing and ending youth homelessness
Ensure that there is adequate safe and stable housing for all youth in order to prevent and end youth homelessness
Improve the behavioral health and emotional wellness of all youth who are at-risk of homelessness in Miami-Dade County
Identify opportunities to foster connection between youth experiencing homelessness and the community, including opportunities to engage youth with adult role models who can facilitate successful transition from housing instability to permanence
Identify and connect youth with effective and innovative educational and employment opportunities and increase youth involvement and performance in educational and training activities
Enhance collaborative action planning, information sharing, resource alignment, and linkages among all relevant community systems to achieve collective impact on addressing the critical issue of youth homelessness on an ongoing, sustainable basis