What is the Foster Youth to Independence program?
The Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) program allows Memphis Housing Authority and other public housing agencies to request a 36-month Housing Choice Voucher to serve youth who are aging out of child welfare or foster care programming.
What is the purpose of an FYI voucher?
The initiative aims to help communities across the country address gaps in the availability of housing, help prevent and end youth homelessness and set them on a path to self-sufficiency.
The reality for many people coming out of foster care is bleak. According to For Others, a foster care advocacy group, 40% of youth who reach the age of 18 without a solid support network will be homeless within 18 months. More than 80% of young men who age out of foster care will be incarcerated at some point in their lives, and more than 70% of young women in the same situation will become pregnant before they turn 21. Almost all of them, 97%, will leave foster care and immediately fall below the poverty line. FYI vouchers seek to alleviate the burden of housing affordability as young people work to establish themselves academically, professionally and culturally.
Who is eligible to receive an FYI voucher?
A young person eligible to receive an FYI voucher must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be between the ages of 18-24.
- Left foster care, or will leave foster care within 90 days.
- Is homeless or is at risk of becoming homeless at age 16 or older.
A young person who meets these requirements and is pregnant or parenting is also eligible.
What is the process to request an FYI voucher?
All FYI vouchers come through community partnerships between MHA and a Memphis-based child welfare organization. If you know a young person who might be eligible for an FYI voucher, encourage them to talk with local foster advocacy groups to find out about available vouchers.
Once we connect with our partner organization, we’ll begin the verification process. We will verify the youth’s eligibility for an HCV and compare the names with youth already on the HCV waiting list. Any youth on the HCV list who matches with the agency's referral must be assisted in order of their position on the list.
From there, we’ll coordinate with HUD to make sure they have all of the information needed to confirm the voucher request.