U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Street Outreach Program
The Street Outreach program aims to provide street-based services to runaway, homeless, and street youth less than 22 years of age who have been subjected to, or are at risk of being subjected to, sexual abuse, prostitution, sexual exploitation, and severe forms of trafficking in persons. Awards are designed to ensure that evidence-informed prevention and intervention strategies are in place for runaway, homeless, and street youth to: (1) build skills that will contribute to the healthy, positive, productive functioning of children and the healthy transition of youth into adulthood, (2) end the sexual victimization of youth, and (3) identify youth victims of labor and sex trafficking.
The Street Outreach Program will support projects that:
- Implement outreach intervention strategies to keep youth safe and help them leave the streets
- Provide approaches to identify and minimize sexual exploitation and human trafficking situations
- Coordinate and sustain partnerships to expand access to services that respond to the needs of youth experiencing homelessness
- Establish and/or strengthen the integration of comprehensive services that enhance protective factors
- Provide preventive services that enhance protective factors, such as connection to schools, vocational services, friends, and caring adults
- Identify and provide services to youth who are victims of any type of sexual victimization and severe forms of human trafficking
Additionally, Street Outreach Program projects will follow a Comprehensive Youth Centered Service Model that includes, but is not limited to:
Outreach: Grantees must perform outreach in coordination with other organizations serving the same or similar client populations, such as child welfare agencies, juvenile justice systems, schools, and Department of Housing and Urban Development funded Continuums of Care (CoC). In addition, projects must have an outreach implementation strategy to include a: 1) Street Outreach Plan that outlines where staff will conduct individualized, face-to-face outreach to youth in places where they congregate on the streets for certain hours, with a defined frequency of visits, including general areas and general locations; and what techniques they will use as branding and for carrying basic need packs, employing street outreach workers, and developing street-based safety protocols; and 2) Public Outreach and Awareness plan that informs the community about street outreach projects through social media, public service announcements, and collaboration with other youth serving organizations, culturally specific community-based organizations, sexual violence organizations, anti-trafficking agencies, law enforcement, health care providers, legal services, and other stakeholders.
Gateway services: Project outreach staff must provide food, drink, referrals to shelter, clothing, transportation, and hygiene products to prevent malnutrition and ill-health to youth, while building trust with youth they encounter on the street. Project outreach staff are also expected to build rapport to identify youth who are at-risk of or are victims of sexual trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, labor trafficking, and other forms of victimization. Project staff are expected to provide valuable information to youth in case of potential trafficking or life-threatening situations (e.g., national and local youth hotline information, including the National Runaway Safeline and National Human Trafficking Hotline).
Screening and assessment: Projects must implement standardized methods used to assess each youth’s situation at drop-in-center program entry, during engagement on the street, or during intake screening. Assessments should determine a youth’s immediate needs; physical and behavioral health; connection to family; safety; access to resources; issues of neglect or abuse; and other risk and protective factors impacting his/her well-being and self-sufficiency. Assessments must be individualized, returning first time runaway youth to low-risk families, if appropriate, while prioritizing street youth for rapid sheltering. Assessment tools must also be able to evaluate the unique needs of subpopulations of runaway and homeless youth, such as: 1) youth who are pregnant or parenting; 2) system-involved youth, to include Juvenile Justice and child welfare; 3) sexually exploited or trafficked youth; 4) youth in need of substance abuse or mental health services; and 5) other vulnerable populations (e.g., Native American, youth with disabilities). A list of available screening and assessment tools can be found at the following website to help applicants decide what type of services each young person may need: http://www.rhyclearinghouse.acf.hhs.gov/features/screening-assessment-tools-2016/sortable-table
Harm reduction: Projects must educate and engage youth on the street with regard to safety plans and ways to reduce risk of sexual exploitation, human trafficking, sexual assault, or any other harm associated with street life.
Access to emergency shelter: Projects must guarantee runaway, homeless, and street youth access to emergency shelter or safe and stable housing on a 24-hours-a-day basis. The shelter services must have a vacancy for referred youth and must be licensed, supervised, and age appropriate with an atmosphere youth will trust. Transportation to the shelter should be available, as needed, and barriers to entry should be low enough that it is easily accessible by youth. If shelter is provided through referrals, project staff must have a signed agreement with the organization guaranteeing that street outreach staff can enter the shelter 24 hours a day to access clients in residence.
Crisis stabilization: Projects must provide intensive case management and follow-up services to ensure that youth receive assistance with emotional and behavioral health challenges while developing a plan for permanency. projects must provide services that are designed to assist clients leaving the streets, making healthy choices, and building trusting relationships in areas where targeted youth congregate and directly, or by referral, provide treatment, counseling, prevention, and education services to clients who are referred for emergency shelter.
Continuum service linkages: Projects must coordinate with system of care providers to ensure the ability to serve the homeless youth population. Projects must also coordinate their activities with the Runaway and Homeless Youth National Communication System (Hotline).
Follow-up: Projects must provide follow-up care to youth, including, but not limited to, care visits, calls, and any form of open and active communication.
Drop-In Center (optional services): If projects propose this service, it must be accessible to youth to access services such as showers, hot meals, laundry, email, phone, and case management services.
Additionally, Street Outreach Program projects will identify and provide street-based services to youth victims of trafficking. Programs are required to increase their capacity to identify and provide services and/or service referrals to trafficked youth by participating in professional trainings and integrating human trafficking elements (sex and labor trafficking) into screening and assessment tools. Projects are encouraged to enhance their human trafficking prevention and intervention efforts to end these incidents among vulnerable youth and identify trafficked youth.
Amount: A total of $5,553,098 is available to make up to 37 awards, ranging from $90,000-$150,000 and averaging $112,000 per budget period. The length of the project period is up to three years (three budget periods). Grantees must provide at least 10 percent of the total approved cost of the project.
Eligibility: Public agencies; nonprofit private agencies; community organizations; faith-based organizations; and coordinated networks of such entities. Private institutions of higher education must be nonprofit entities. In selecting eligible applicants to receive grants under this opportunity, priority will be given to public and nonprofit private agencies that have experience in providing services to runaway, homeless, and street youth.
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