Reaching the hard to reach
Jamie Van Leeuwen
This article features three housing programs designed to target the needs of youth aging out of child welfare. One program combines housing and treatment to move substance-dependent youth off the streets; one combines the resources of Urban Peak, the only licensed homeless and runaway youth shelter in Colorado, with the Denver Department of Human Services to prevent youth in child welfare from discharging to the streets; and one addresses the intense mental health needs of this population. It costs Colorado $53,655 to place a young person in youth corrections for one year and $53,527 for residential treatment. It costs Urban Peak $5,378 to move a young person off of the streets. This article describes how data have driven program development and discusses how policy implications and relationships with the public and private sector can leverage additional resources.