Youth Housing Help and Other Cuts Get Spotlight in Denver

May 30, 2013

Denver (CO)—On Thursday, May 30, concerned adults and youth in Denver, Colorado, can join a town hall event to learn more about proposed budget reductions in spending that will impact children, seniors and families.

The event will feature people who are already feeling the effect of sequestration cuts in Colorado, including youth, as well as U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).

It is being organized by the Every Child Matters Colorado Campaign, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Council of La Raza and local non-profit partners. The town hall takes place at the Tennyson Center for Children in the Highlands neighbourhood of Denver, starting at 10 am. 

The Sequester's Impact: Housing Supports for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

DaunitiaLewis, one of the speakers at the May 30 town hall event, entered the foster care system in Colorado at age 10 and exited when she was 17.  

“I have spent my entire life trying to overcome the mistakes of my parents and family so I can make a life for myself that is my own,” said Daunitia.

Upon being released from the system Daunitia moved in with her grandmother, and from there to her own apartment when she was 18 years old. BRIDGING GAP

Yet within two years of leaving her grandmother’s home, she was homeless with nowhere to turn. Through Bridging the Gap a program of Mile High United Way, Daunitia has been connected to housing assistance and other support to help her achieve self-sufficiency as an adult.

“It is no exaggeration for me to say that the voucher and Bridging the Gap saved my life,” said Daunitia.

Daunitia is, like many other young adults and struggling families in Colorado, receiving support through Housing Choice Voucher, a federal program that provides rental assistance to very low-income families.

Voucher programs have been heavily impacted by budget sequestration cuts causing locally administered programs all over Colorado to make across the board cuts to voucher programs, including those severing former foster children. 

“Housing assistance is the canary in the coalmine. It’s hard to see the impact of cuts to federal funding that support at-risk, abused and neglected children in Colorado because you will never see the same immediate public outcry that comes say when your plane is delayed,” says Katie Facchinello, Colorado Director for the Every Child Matters Education Fund, referencing the recent reversal of sequestration budget cuts to air traffic controls.

"We shouldn’t be shy about advocating for programs that help."

“I’m so proud of Daunitia for her willingness to speak out [at the town hall]. For thousands of kids with similar stories, once the children we serve leave the system, they will continue to need some community-based services to grow up to become healthy adults," Facchinello adds.

"The adoptive families, foster families, and hopefully, reunited or relative families human services works with also continue to need community-based assistance with child care, food assistance, continued mental health treatment, health care, and pathways to self-sufficiency and we shouldn’t be shy about advocating for programs that help strengthen families,” says Facchinello.

At the May 30 town hall, community members and organizations will have an opportunity to discuss the impact of existing and proposed budget cuts and alternatives, including revenue raising proposals.

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