The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation Helps Fund Major Advance in Phoenix Homeless Youth Services.
Three Top Local Organizations to Coordinate Efforts and Streamline Services
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation recently awarded a $581,500 grant to help fund a collaboration among three of the largest local agencies serving homeless youth in Phoenix: Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, Native American Connections and one•n•ten. On any given day there are 600-800 homeless youth on the streets in Phoenix and this collaboration will enhance services, reduce duplication of efforts and improve long-term outcomes for at-risk youth. Young people facing homelessness are often assisted by two, or all three, of these agencies and must duplicate the intake process at each organization.
“The current process is inefficient and can re-traumatize young people by requiring them to answer difficult questions about their background and explain their needs multiple times,” said DeDe Yazzie Devine, Executive Director of Native American Connections. “Support from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will help us correct a significant issue and better serve the kids we support.”
The grant will help the agencies operate more efficiently and share access to data such as case management and housing information. The funds will also allow “Solution Advocates” – who will perform the intake processes and enter the information into a shared cloud-based data system – to be based at each organization. The shared data and additional staffing will be instrumental in identifying the best housing service and agency for each individual. In addition, the grant allows for implementation of a “Family Finding” program which assists youth in identifying and tracing supportive family members with whom they may have lost touch, with the goal of building long-term family bonds.
“Children deserve the promise of a better future, in particular one with a safe, stable environment,” said Renee Parsons. “The collaborative will allow the agencies to better provide for these highly vulnerable young people facing homelessness.”
The three organizations, each serving homeless youth in its own unique way, have volunteered to work together to improve processes and long-term outcomes. Native American Connections is a multiservice organization that provides culturally appropriate improvements in Native American housing stability and serves homeless youth of all nationalities, ages 18-14, through its HomeBase transitional living program. Also focused on providing immediate shelter and longer term assistance, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development offers a range of housing, counseling and educational programs for homeless youth ages 12-25. One•n•ten provides similar programs for youth ages 14-24 and is dedicated to serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community.
“This collaborative approach will streamline the often daunting systems of care for homeless youth and help facilitate appropriate referrals and placement,” said one•n•ten Executive Director, Linda Elliott.
“We are excited to work together and implement new processes, like the Family Funding program, that will help find long-term solutions for the children we serve,” said Cynthia Schuler, Chief Executive Officer of Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development.
With funding from the grant approved, the organizations have already begun writing position descriptions and setting first-year goals. Cross-organizational training is scheduled for September, with coordinated entry slated to begin October 1, 2015.