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Local Team Joins System Change Movement to Tackle Youth Homelessness in America

On Monday, June 29, the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care and twenty local stakeholders launched a 100-Day Challenge to reduce youth homelessness in Santa Barbara County. Stakeholders in addressing homelessness among youth include: Allan Hancock Community College, Community Action Commission/South Coast Youth Safety Partnership, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Channel Islands YMCA Youth and Family Services, Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, Good Samaritan Shelter, Lompoc School District, Community Day School, Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services, Santa Barbara County Education Office, Santa Barbara County Probation, Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Maria Joint Unified High School District, Transiitons Mental Health, United Way Home For Good, as well as local youth with lived experience of homelessness. 

According to a study by Chaplin Hall, one in ten young adults ages 18-25, and at least one in thirty adolescents ages 13-17, experience some form of unaccompanied homelessness over the course of a year in the US. The California Department of Education reports that in the 2018-19 school year 8,316 students (11.7%) met the McKinney Vento definition of a homeless youth in Santa Barbara County school districts. In addition, 16,229 (59.1%) youth between the ages of 18 -24 are living below the poverty level according to the 2017 American Community Survey data for Santa Barbara County, the CoC service area. Community leaders across the nation are uniting to continue momentum towards an efficient and sustainable solution to this heartbreaking epidemic. 

The Rapid Results Institute (RRI), and HomeBase, with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD), have announced the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care  has accepted the 100-Day Challenge to accelerate efforts in preventing and ending youth homelessness within their communities - representing the sixth cohort to do so.

100-Day Challenges are designed to empower and support front-line teams in pursuit of an ambitious 100-Day Goal, and are a central part in the movement to prevent and end youth homelessness. The compressed timeframe of 100 days, high visibility, and support from coaches, peers, and federal leaders all work together to inspire teams to achieve rapid progress and sustainable system change. 

Santa Barbara County has established a 100-Day goal that not only includes housing a significant number of young people, but also setting sub-goals in order to achieve the initial 100-Day Goal: 

In 100 days, we will house 50 youth, with 100% of youth on a real-time list of all people experiencing homelessness assigned a navigator, and at least 75% accepting case management with an individual service and housing retention plan.