With youth in mind the state of Maryland has developed an action plan to successfully prepare youth with knowledge and life skills needed to successfully live independently by the age of 21. The action plan is geared toward all youth, including homeless youth. What is unique about this action plan is that it lays out all of the steps under a particular service area and the departments that are responsible to oversee the implementation of each step. A few steps that I found to be interesting are located under the housing section. Specific to homeless youth Maryland aims to identify and train systems navigators for targeted case management, request that the National Alliance to End Homelessness provide language used by other states regarding housing for youth under 18 to be used in new legislation, and distribute information to the statewide population and state agencies to increase awareness pertaining to laws. The action plan also includes incorporating tenant training into programs for homeless youth. Besides the housing information that I presented there are several other important aspects that pertain to homeless youth; such as, education and health care. Maryland is taking action by putting the well being of all youth at the forefront of all service providers and policy makers. On the whole the action plan takes into consideration the importance to teach youth about wise ways of spending and saving money, choosing healthy eating styles, and increased assistance and knowledge about financial aid and education opportunities. There are lessons here both for California and the rest of the country. At the Homeless Youth Project, we will continue to try to build on the work of other states as we strive to craft a State Action Plan that addresses youth homelessness.
The HYP is a project of the CA Research Bureau dedicated to educating local and state policymakers about unaccompanied youth who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. Learn more at http://cahomelessyouth.library.ca.gov/