Administration for Children Youth and Families – Family and Youth Services Bureau – Street Outreach Program

The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) recently opened applications for its Street Outreach Program (SOP). As with many federal grant opportunities, there are a lot of “so” questions that come to my mind.

So, what is the SOP?

To prevent sexual abuse and exploitation of young people who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness and help them leave the streets, Congress established the Education and Prevention Services to Reduce Sexual Abuse of Runaway, Homeless, and Street Youth Program. It was established through the Violence Against Women Act of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The legislation funds street-based outreach and education for youth who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness. FYSB has funded the SOP since 1996.

The purpose of the SOP is to provide street-based services to youth 21 years of age and younger who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness and have been subjected to, or are at risk of being subjected to, sexual abuse, prostitution, sexual exploitation, and severe forms of trafficking. This includes building relationships between this target population and street outreach workers to move youth into stable housing and prepare them for independence.

Projects must (1) conduct street outreach; (2) provide access to emergency shelter or safe and stable housing on a 24-hours-a-day basis; and (3) provide transportation to shelters (as needed).

FYSB expects to award 16 grants totaling $2,400,000. The application deadline is 6/29/2020. The maximum award amount is $150,000 per budget period for a total of three years with a start date of September 30, 2020. Grantees are required to meet a non-federal match of 10% of the total project cost.

So, what makes a project a good fit?

Successful SOP projects will:

  • Demonstrate experience. Priority is given to agencies with demonstrated experience in providing services to youth who have run away from home or are experiencing homelessness.
  • Follow a comprehensive youth-centered service model and incorporate positive youth development and trauma-informed care.
  • Provide an outreach implementation plan to locate youth where they congregate, including the use of street outreach workers, staff safety strategies, and plans to respond to youth who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
  • Provide gateway services (food, drink, referrals to shelters, clothing, transportation, hygiene products).
  • Implement assessment methods to determine youths’ immediate needs, access to resources, risk and protective factors, etc.
  • Educate youth on harm reduction.
  • Coordinate services and activities with other organizations serving the same or similar populations, such as child welfare agencies, juvenile justice systems, schools, and Continuums of Care (CoCs).
  • Provide crisis stabilization through intensive case management and follow-up.
  • Coordinate with a system of care providers.
  • Provide follow-up care to youth (e.g., visits, calls, any open and active communication).
  • Increase capacity to implement human trafficking prevention and intervention strategies, such as identification of and services or referrals for trafficked youth.

Additionally, programs must meet statutory requirements including staff and volunteer background checks, emergency preparedness plans, licensed shelter requirements, governance and fiscal controls, staffing and training plans, technical assistance, and youth confidentiality.

So, what if I am ready to apply? The deadline is coming quickly! To move your application forward, take the following actions ASAP:

  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here: https://www.sam.gov/SAM/pages/public/searchRecords/search.jsf.
  • Begin gathering letters of support/commitment (key organizational support) from agency partners such as government entities, CoCs, non-profits, and service providers.
  • Gather data and documentation demonstrating your experience and success in serving the target population along with your ability to meet statutory requirements.
  • Gather data about the need for services in your community, including the number of youth with runaway or homeless status.
  • Identify what you will use for your cash or in-kind budget match.

So, what if I am not ready to apply this year? Start thinking and planning ahead for next year’s round. Specific strategies include developing a detailed plan to conduct street outreach and engage youth; assessing current organizational capacity and ways to strengthen your ability to meet program and statutory requirements; and establishing or strengthening collaborative partnerships with CoCs, child welfare agencies, juvenile justice systems, etc.

So, what else do I need to know to get my project funded?

  • Check out FYSB’s website at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/fysb/programs/runaway-homeless-youth. It offers a wealth of resources on SOP and other programs including everything from fact sheets to current grantees and estimated funding per state.
  • Contact Assel Grant Services at rosie.brennan@asselgrantservices.com if you need assistance preparing this grant. AGS has a qualified team of grant professionals who have written several awarded SOP proposals and have served as a federal reviewer for FYSB programs.

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs