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HALF A MILLION ON THE WAY TO STREET YOUTHS

HONOLULU — Gov. Linda Lingle has released a $500,000 grant-in-aid for the Hawai‘i Youth Services Network to support the Transitional Living Program for Underserved Street Youth, a collaborative program for runaways and homeless youth.

A release from the governor’s office states the funding will enable the HYSN and its partners — Hale Kipa on O‘ahu, Maui Youth and Family Services, Family Support Services of West Hawai‘i and the Salvation Army in Hilo — to expand the federally funded TLP to help youth ages 16 to 21 gain skills that are essential for successful independent living.

“The funds will provide much needed long-term housing and independent living skills training for youth without family support systems,” the release states. “Existing transitional living programs serve only a fraction of the youth in need. Without this key component, runaways and homeless youth who cannot return to their families or be placed in other residential programs are forced to return to the streets when their emergency shelter stay is complete.”

“The issue of homelessness affects all ages from keiki to the elderly,” Lingle said in the release. “Many youth ‘age out’ of state assistance programs, or through other circumstances, lose access to the support systems that can help them. The funding of this private partnership will help ensure such youth receive needed services to become self-sufficient and end the cycle of homelessness.”

Lingle says the $500,000 will allow HYSN and its four partner organizations to provide an array of services to underserved youth, including:

• Safe living accommodations;

• Family counseling to help improve communication, resolve conflicts, and possibly lead to a return to the youth’s home;

• Assistance in developing skills and personal characteristics needed for independent living;

• Drug abuse education and prevention;

• Medical and health care;

• Mental health care;

• Vocational planning and employment preparation assistance;

• Individualized educational assistance for those who do not have a diploma or GED;

• Individualized parenting education and links to pregnancy, parenting and child development resource;

• Referrals and links to other services in the community;

• Financial assistance, as appropriate.

The Transitional Living Program for Underserved Street Youth is financed through a five-year federal grant that was first awarded to HYSN in 2003, the release states. HYSN is a coalition of more than 50 youth-serving agencies and organizations statewide, and supports youth and families and seeks to build stronger communities through recreation, education, prevention, treatment, outreach, counseling and shelter programs.

The State Office of Youth Services, which is administratively attached to the Department of Human Services, works closely with HYSN as part of its efforts to provide a continuum of prevention, rehabilitation and treatment services and programs for at-risk-youth to prevent juvenile crime and delinquency.


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