A Place 4 Me

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, 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.

YWCA Greater Cleveland is the lead agency of the 30 organizations participating in this collective impact initiative. AP4M’s steering committee is comprised of YWCA Greater Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services, Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, Frontline Service, EDEN, The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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.

For more information, see our strategic plan and our progress toward ending youth homelessness on the A Way Home America Community Dashboard.

Program Activities

AP4M’s overarching goal is to improve outcomes for youth who face homelessness, disconnection from work ad school, and premature parenthood. We have a special focus on youth aged 14 to 24 years who have experienced foster care and addressing racial disparities.

AP4M specific objectives and strategies are:

  • Meet the needs of homeless youth through direct services: AP4M provides direct services to homeless youth and youth who have touched foster care through several programs. AP4M connects homeless youth to resources through information and referral. AP4M manages a Second Chance Fund, in partnership with EDEN, to assist with emergency financial assistance to prevent youth from becoming homeless. AP4M has also implemented a Youth Leadership Board so that homeless and at-risk youth have a say in the planning for this population of young people. And lastly, AP4M has implemented the Opportunity Passport™ program, which provides financial capability and matched savings for youth who have experienced foster care between the ages of 14-26.
  • Build community partnership to better serve homeless and at-risk youth: AP4M creates systems-level change by providing structure to 30 partner organizations, along with representatives of the youth served, to engage in dialogue to coordinate efforts and improve their ability to reach out and assist young people experiencing homelessness. We convene meetings of the steering committee and a community partnership board, which bring together partner agencies, agency staff members who are “on the ground,” and young leaders from the target population. Findings are shared locally and nationally through participation of AP4M representatives and youth leaders at conferences.
  • Provide advocacy for public policy development: AP4M utilizes the findings of its collaborative efforts to advocate for policy and practices that improve outcomes youth experiencing homelessness. As one example, AP4M participated in the successful efforts to extend foster care support through the age of 21, which was signed into law in June of 2016. AP4M will continue to support Ohio Jobs and Family Services in implementation of this important step forward for vulnerable youth.
  • Conduct research for data-driven decision-making: AP4M is committed to “measuring what matters,” in order to assess progress and ensure that project activities achieve measurable, positive impact. AP4M has participated in a results based leadership institute through the Annie E. Casey Foundation and has implemented a tracking tool to focus on Cuyahoga County’s homeless youth population. Data are shared nationally through the A Way Home America monthly dashboard, and locally through AP4M committees.  Additionally, a Cuyahoga County team was accepted into the Race Equity Design Lab sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Participation in the lab enables Ap4M to disaggregate data so that we can assess racial equity in outcomes for local programs that serve young people experiencing homelessness.

Our Successes

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

  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Body Wash/Bar Soap
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Tampons
  • Pads
  • Pantyliners
  • Alcohol-Free Sanitizer/Sanitizer Wipes
  • Cologne/Perfume
  • Chapstick
  • Lotion

Welcomed Items

  • Pencils
  • Journals
  • Notebooks
  • Young Adult Literature
  • Children’s Books

Other Needed Items

  • Towels
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Fabric Sheets
  • Paper Towels
  • Snacks
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Applesauce
  • Cheez-Itz
  • Granola Bars, Nutrigrain
  • Totes and Reusable Bags
  • Blankets and Quilts
  • Bedsheets
  • Mattress Pads
  • Laundry Baskets
  • Baby Food

Contact
Kate Lodge
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director
A Place 4 Me
216-881-6878
klodge@ywcaofcleveland.org

Our Success

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.