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Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Housing Vouchers
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a program named the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Initiative, which provides 36 months of rental assistance “on demand” for youth in private apartments.
Foster youth to Independence initiative launched in July of 2019. In partnership, the Children's Bureau, HUD, and local communities will work together to serve youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by providing them with tenant protection vouchers (FYI-TPV).
To qualify for FYI-TPV:
- 1.A youth must have lived experience in the child welfare system at 16 or older.
- 2.Youth who are aging out of care may only apply 90 days prior to their release date.
- 3.A youth must be between the ages of 18-26.
- 4.A youth must be homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Note: Pregnant and parenting youth will be eligible if they meet qualifiers listed above.
Your local state child welfare agency will need to enter a partnership with the local public housing department in order to receive funding for this voucher. Alabama, Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas are currently the only states participating in this program.
When applying for this voucher, agencies/caseworkers will need to:
- 1.Ensure you meet qualifications and confirm your history in child welfare.
- 2.Send a written referral to the local public housing authority.
It is important to know that only caseworkers or child welfare agencies will be able to complete and submit your referral to the local public housing authority. This is due to the requirement that your history must be verified and a written referral with your confidential information will need to be submitted to HUD.
Note: States are only able to request up to 25 referrals for FYI-TPV funding assistance per year.
Once your referral is sent by your agency to your local public housing authority (PHA), the executive director of the PHA will send a request for funds to HUD.
Following the request for assistance, your application will go through the eligibility process. HUD expects to quickly process requests, but may take up to 60 days to complete.
Once HUD approves the voucher request, you will have 60-90 days to find housing. You will need to ensure that landlords, rental companies, or property managers accept housing vouchers of this form. If you cannot find housing within the time frame given, the voucher will expire.
If you are approved for FYI-TPV, you will be eligible to receive up to 36 months of rental support. Additionally, you will have the option and opportunity to utilize other supports provided by the agency that is referring you, or other partners in your community.
The supports you have access to and are completely optional are:
- Basic Life Skills Training
- Housing Counseling
- Landlord Support Services
- Employment and Training
- Education and Career Advancement
Navigating programs can be difficult if you are not sure about the limitations and requirements necessary to utilize them. This can be disheartening. Think Of Us has taken the time to do some extended research about the FYI-TPV program and found these unintended barriers that young people will need to consider and be aware of:
- Many young people and agencies are unaware of this program.
- Without connections with your local child welfare agency, accessibility to this voucher is impossible due to the referral process.
- Some agencies do not have the capacity to provide the optional wraparound services to youth, which is a requirement for agencies to utilize this program.
- Housing options can be limited due to lack of housing availability, preference by landlords to house families rather than youth, and housing that accepts HUD or public housing vouchers.
- Some housing options require applications that can cost additional funds and be denied with no refund.
- Housing applications can be complicated and time-consuming.
- The waitlists for certain housing options can be longer than the 60-90 day deadline young people have to find housing.
- 1.Ask about FYI in your transition plan meetings.
- 2.Learn as much as you can in your independent living classes about how to locate apartments and be a good renter.
- 3.Provide the Fact Sheet below and other materials to your worker.