Pinellas County, FL is a community in action.
For nearly two years, the True Colors Fund has been helping leaders in St. Petersburg/Pinellas County, FL prevent and end LGBTQ youth homelessness. Now, we’re very pleased to announce that the Pinellas County Steering Committee has launched their strategic plan to end youth homelessness! The plan focuses on three topics:
- Prevention and Diversion – The plan outlines best practices for LGBTQ-inclusive service provision and family-strengthening supports for LGBTQ youth in family reunification or foster care situations.
- Access and Assessment – The plan addresses front-line safety for LGBTQ youth by emphasizing street outreach and creating a community-wide central-access-point to easier for young people to attain services, assessments, and referrals.
- Coordination Entry and Housing – The plan integrates young people into the community’s existing coordinated entry system and outlines a continuum of housing and supportive services that meet the needs of all youth at each point of their journey into independence.
How did Pinellas do it?
- Community-wide investment (it’s a team effort).
- Planning (and more planning).
- Hard work (lots of it).
It’s been a long journey to get here, and the work has really only just begun! Through remote technical assistance and on-site trainings, the True Colors Fund supported community members as they surveyed local youth experiencing homelessness, conducted needs assessments for their community, and drafted a plan to help them address the issue. Everyone was at the table throughout this process – including youth homelessness service providers, local law enforcement, educators, artists, and young people with lived experience of homelessness.
The launch event for the plan was held at a local youth shelter and attended by local government, young people, providers, organizers, and funders. So far, the steering committee has raised $500,000 in funding to open a 24-hour access center! The True Colors Fund is continuing its technical assistance by helping local leaders connect with successful drop-in center models nationwide.
What’s your community doing to address youth homelessness?
We’re thrilled that Pinellas County is so dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ young people in their community. Where does your community stand? Pinellas County is located in Florida – a state that scored 43/100 in our new State Index on Youth Homelessness. Find out what your state is doing to address youth homelessness!