Nothing About Me Without Me
What is A Place 4 Me? It is not an actual place, but rather an idea that all youth ages 18 to 24 will have a place to call home, specifically those youth who have high risks for homelessness and are in transition from leaving the child welfare system or other systems. A Place 4 Me is an initiative that coordinates the planning and implementation of local efforts to improve outcomes for transition age youth in the areas of:
- Prevention of homelessness for youth aging out of foster care.
- Creating a safety net to quickly connect youth at risk or experiencing homelessness with resources
- Providing an array of stable housing options to create choice for young people and give them agency. This is done by leveraging federal, state, and local resources.
- Providing supportive services to help young people maintain sable housing. This includes help finding employment, providing mentors, promoting financial literacy and capability, as well as ensuring a flexible pool of emergency assistance resources.
We achieve these goals though convening, system assessment, planning, using data to drive decision making, and by partnering with young adults to lead our conversations.
We are organized to do this work through a collective impact model of 30 partner organizations led by YWCA Greater Cleveland. The leadership consists of Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, FrontLine Service, and Eden, Inc.
A Place 4 Me provides hands-on help to youth experiencing homelessness or who are at-risk 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 outhentic youth engagement, use of data to align resources.