City officials have renewed efforts to address the cycle of homelessness that affects young people in Philadelphia.
The city's Office of Health and Human Services, City Council members and homeless advocates were in attendance Tuesday as the city dedicated $700,000 in grants toward services for homeless youth.
Currently, 439 beds are dedicated to people between the ages of 18 and 24. The money will allow shelter services to expand by 12 percent, benefiting hundreds of people.
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“This effort, which has been a long time coming, proves that Philadelphia doesn’t need to wait for change from above—we can and are making change in the lives of our children and youth right here, right now,” Councilwoman Helen Gym (D-At Large) said.
The funding will be disbursed to a coalition comprised of five homeless service providers: Valley Youth House, Attic Youth Center, Covenant House, Youth Service and Pathways PA. All those organizations help homeless youth, however, the Attic Youth Center exclusively serves LGBTQ youth.
In addition to providing expanded services, HHS said the grants will also be used to acquire more shelter beds for homeless youth.
The announcement comes on the heels of Mayor Jim Kenney's new effort to address chronic homelessness in the city.
Last week, Kenney created a workgroup to crack down on panhandling while upgrading services to the homeless. The focus would make the city's public spaces more enjoyable and develop a strategy to help solve homelessness, his office said in a press release.
The city's Office of Supportive Housing estimated that 5,328 individuals experienced homelessness at some point last year.