Nothing About Me Without Me
What is A Place 4 Me?
In 2013, players from the public, social service and philanthropic sectors in Cuyahoga County were convened by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and together developed a collective effort to prevent and end youth homelessness known as A Place 4 Me, a name chosen by young leaders in the movement. A Place 4 Me is not an actual place, but rather an idea that all youth ages 18 to 24 will have a place to call home, especially youth experiencing homelessness or who have experienced foster care.
A Place 4 Me is an initiative that works with young people with lived experience to coordinate the planning and implementation of local efforts to improve outcomes for transition age youth in the areas of:
- Preventing homelessness for all youth, with a focus on those who have experienced foster care.
- Creating a safety net to quickly identify young people experiencing homelessness and connect them to resources.
- Providing an array of stable housing options for young people by leveraging federal, state, and local resources.
- Coordinating supportive services to help young people maintain stable housing, including employment assistance, mentoring, financial capability, and a flexible pool of emergency assistance resources.
We achieve these goals through convening, system assessment, planning, using data to drive decision-making, and by partnering with young adults to lead our conversations.
The collaborative is supported by a small staff and an active youth action board called REACH. A Place 4 Me is not a formal organization. The staff that supports the collaborative are employed by the YWCA, which acts as the host and fiscal agent of the collaborative. The collaborative’s strategy, budget and performance are overseen by a Steering Committee. Members of the Steering Committee are committed to being more engaged in the oversight of A Place 4 Me. Developing this Memorandum with the YWCA is part of that commitment.
YWCA Greater Cleveland is the lead agency of the 30 organizations participating in this collective impact initiative. AP4M’s steering committee is comprised of:
- Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services
- Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
- Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services
- Frontline Service
- The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
- Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation
- and YWCA Greater Cleveland
A Place 4 Me provides hands-on help to youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness. We do this through Opportunity PassportTM, a financial capability and matched savings program for youth who are touched by foster care after the age of fourteen; a youth board, called REACH, of trained advocates who help lead the change efforts in our community; information and referral services for youth in crisis to help them access resources.
Our national partnerships with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative and A Way Home America provide a set of tools that drive our best-practice principals of authentic youth engagement, use of data to achieve results, a focus on racial and ethnic equity and inclusion, and collaboration to align resources.
AP4M has demonstrated the power of collective, coordinated efforts. In July of 2016, AP4M was selected as one of three entities nationwide to participate, on behalf of Greater Cleveland, in A Way Home America’s “100-Day Challenge on Youth Homelessness,” a national initiative to find housing for homeless youth. In September of 2016, AP4M began working toward its ambitious goal of finding housing for 100 young adults experiencing homelessness in Greater Cleveland in 100 days. By December, AP4M had exceeded its goal. AP4M has continued these efforts, and as of August 2017, AP4M has helped 321 young people to secure safe housing.
The initiative is now working to help these young people maintain their housing. Of 321 young people housed, 23 returned to the homeless shelter (7%). Lessons learned from these 23 youth will be used to support the goal of 0% return to homelessness as AP4M continues its work.
OUR WISH LIST
Needed Hygiene Items
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Body Wash/Bar Soap
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Alcohol-Free Sanitizer/Sanitizer Wipes
- Young Adult Literature
- Children’s Books
Other Needed Items
- Laundry Detergent
- Fabric Sheets
- Paper Towels
- Fruit Snacks
- Granola Bars, Nutrigrain
- Totes and Reusable Bags
- Blankets and Quilts
- Mattress Pads
- Laundry Baskets
- Baby Food