Feds grant city $8M to fight youth homelessness

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SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department Friday granted the city of San Diego $8 million to fund youth homelessness initiatives.

Funds will go toward rapid re-housing as well as transitional, permanent supportive and host housing programs.

“There’s nothing more tragic than a child who is homeless through no fault of their own, and we must do everything we can to give them a chance to succeed,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “This award will go a long way toward creating new opportunities for homeless youth that don”t currently exist.

San Diego was one of 11 cities, and the only municipality to California, to receive grant funding through HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. More than 100 cities applied.

City officials now have four months to develop and submit to HUD a coordinated community plan. The city will then request funds as soon as projects are ready.

The challenges facing homeless youth are unique and thus warrant specialized consideration, said Norm Suchar, director of HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs.

“Young people really struggle to navigate the systems there to help them. They have trouble navigating employment systems, continuing education systems, and one of the things we have to do is make those systems easier to navigate,” he said. “At the same time they bring tremendous strengths. They’re incredibly adaptable and willing to work, to learn to improve themselves, to engage in employment and continuing education. These are strengths we have to build upon.”

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