Foundation Blog

Abilene will soon have its first-ever youth homeless coordinator to combat youth homelessness.

CFA has awarded two grants in 2020 to the West Central Texas Regional Foundation (WCTRF) to help fund this new position for one year. The Future Fund grant committee awarded a $4,200 grant to WCTRF, and the organization received a nearly $19,000 grant through CFA's spring discretionary cycle.

Here's a little background on the pitch for this pilot position:

  • The West Texas Homeless Network (WTHN) is a local coalition of agencies serving the needs of people living with homelessness. In 2018, WTHN established the Youth Homeless Steering Committee (YHSC) to specifically address issues surrounding youth homelessness.
  • The WTHN considers homeless youth the most challenging population to serve, due to legal barriers and the need for stronger coordination among agencies.
  • The YHSC committee identified a need for a coordinator to gather data, map system flows, identify gaps and seek funding sources to keep progress on track.

"The Youth Homelessness Steering Committee is exhilarated about the funding of the Youth Homeless pilot," said John Meier, Program Manager of the West Central Texas Council of Governments' Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. "With this funding there is a real opportunity for Abilene to be better able to meet the needs of our most vulnerable youth in the very near future."

Alana Jeter, Regional Director for BCFS Health and Human Services has been part of the Youth Homeless Steering Committee from the beginning and describes the committee's work in this way, ". . . we work to build a safety net in the Abilene Community for our young neighbors who find themselves without a place to call home. Funding from the Community Foundation has proven vital in these efforts and to providing the opportunity for essential community collaboration.”

The Youth Homeless Coordinator will be contracted as a VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) worker through the Abilene Health Education Center (AHEC). The position will be managed by the West Central Texas Regional Foundation (WCTRF) with the support of members of the Youth Homeless Steering Committee.

The WCTRF plans to hire the coordinator sometime this year.