Basic Center Program

The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) serves runaway and homeless youth by funding the following grant programs: the Basic Center Program, the Transitional Living Program, the Maternal Group Home Program, the Street Outreach Program, and the National Runaway Switchboard.  Ninety percent of RHYA funding goes to programs providing housing, emergency shelter, and homelessness prevention projects and the remaining 10 percent funds supportive service providers. 

View the program website

Basic Center Programs work to establish and strengthen community-based shelter programs that meet the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth and their families.  The programs provide youth, under age 18, with emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling and referrals for health care.  Basic centers can provide 21 days of shelter for up to 20 youth per facility.  An exemption can be granted if a grantee assures that the State where the center or locally controlled facility is located has a State or local law or regulation that requires a higher maximum to comply with licensing requirements for child and youth serving facilities.  As appropriate, basic centers seek to reunite young people with their families or to locate safe alternative placements.

Although each center is designed to meet its community’s unique needs, all basic centers must offer the following types of assistance to young people and their families:

  • Food, clothing, medical care and other services that youth need (offered either directly or by referral)
  • Ensure youth are provided information about educational services available to them by working with the McKinney-Vento School District Liaison
  • Individual, group and family counseling
  • Outreach to youth who may need assistance, as well as to public and private agencies that work with youth and families
  • Aftercare services for youth after they leave the shelter

Target Audience:

Basic Center Programs target youth under the age of 18 who are not currently involved in the child welfare, juvenile justice or mental health systems.

Eligible Applicants:

Public and non-profit private entities, Tribal Governments and combinations of such are typically considered eligible applicants. In addition to other eligible applicants, current BCP grantees with project periods ending on or before the next fiscal year’s funding date may also apply for a new competitive grant. Individuals, foreign entities, and sole proprietorship organizations are not eligible to compete for or receive BCP funding awards. Additional information on eligibility may be found in the BCP funding opportunity announcement.

Funding Mechanism:

Funding for this program is discretionary and subject to the availability of federal funds. Additionally, the dollar amount available for awards in each state is based on the state's total allotment (based on the state's relative population of individuals who are less than 18 years of age) minus the amount required for non-competing continuations.

Grantees are also required to meet a non-federal share of the project cost, in accordance with RHY Act requirements at 42 U.S.C. 5716, which equals 10 percent of the total approved project cost.