LSS of Northern California redesigned our youth supportive housing program to provide the transition age youth we serve with the strongest foundation possible for future success. Stable housing with independent living skills services – the typical service model – is insufficient. The LSS Youth Education and Employment Initiative places a greater emphasis on services that increase educational completion and attainment of living-wage employment leading to lifetime self-sufficiency.
The program redesign provides a comprehensive, evidence-based approach utilizing current best practices and adopts elements of successful youth programs across the U.S. The program uses evidence-informed interventions and addresses the social determinants of health to increase resilience and develop human capital: providing connections to caring adults, addressing mental health needs, strengthening family, developing life-skills, promoting educational attainment, career exploration, and job training and employment.
The goal of LSS and our partners who serve youth in Sacramento and Stockton is to end youth homelessness within 10 years. We will do this by creating a flow for our youth who enter our housing programs to ensure that that within two years they have developed the skills to exit our housing program that will then serve as a foundation for the rest of their life – and open a slot for the next youth to enter. The innovations in our program redesign are targeted to achieve the following long-term outcomes:
- Maintain stable housing;
- Maintain permanent connections with caring adults, family, friends, community;
- Attain a higher level of education (e.g., AA degree, trade school) than if they were not in the program; and
- Six months of continuous employment after leaving the program, on track to obtain a living wage job within five years (based on education goals).
Our initiative is supported by Walter S. Johnson Foundation, Del E. Webb Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs, congregations and generous individuals.