Homeless Youth are Focus of Major Conference in Kansas City

On Tuesday, September 12th, government officials, community representatives, researchers, service providers and youth who have experienced homelessness gathered in Kansas City, Missouri for the Ending Youth Homelessness in the Heartland conference.

Speakers sitting under Homeless Youth banner on screen
Photo (left to right): Jasmine Hayes, Megan Gibbard Kline, Dee Balliet, and Rivianna Hyatt

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; and University of Missouri-Kansas City - Cookingham Institute of Urban Affairs, the conference included over 30 speakers and 200 participants specifically addressing the challenges facing teens and young adults and creating solutions to end youth homelessness in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

National, state, and local experts provided information about data, trends, tools, and strategies that are proven to work to end homelessness among youth. Jasmine Hayes, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and Megan Gibbard Kline, A Way Home America, shared best practices successful communities are implementing to prevent youth homelessness.

Former homeless youth, Dee Balliet and Rivianna Hyatt from the National Youth Forum on Homelessness, led robust discussions on youth-led change to homelessness.  Lisa Hill, Office of Special Needs Programs, HUD HQ participated in a panel discussion on housing options that work for youth from rapid rehousing to host homes.

The keynote luncheon speaker was Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, Director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities.  Key leaders in the region’s homelessness efforts lead other participative breakout sessions and roundtable discussions on education and employment, resources for housing solutions, prevention and early intervention, and leveraging and funding strategies.

The conference was a great opportunity to share ideas and collaborate on best approaches to meet the needs of young people.  Thanks to the dedicated folks across the region who are committed to ending youth homelessness in the Heartland!

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