The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced the availability  of $5 million for outreach initiatives for homeless and runaway youth.  HHS’ Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) is accepting applications for the Street Outreach Program (SOP) whose purpose is to conduct outreach services designed to build relationships between grantee staff and runaway, homeless, and street youth.

Eligible applicants are public and nonprofit private agencies, such as state, county, and local governments, Public/Indian housing authorities, and non-profits. Current grantees with project periods ending on or before September 29, 2009, and all other eligible applicants not currently receiving SOP funds, may apply for a new competitive Street Outreach grant under this announcement. Faith-based and community organizations are eligible to apply. Applications are due June 8, 2009, and interested applicants should read the full announcement for complete details. 50 awards of $200,000 are projected.

Through the program, FYSB awards grants to private, nonprofit agencies to conduct outreach designed to build relationships between grantee staff and street youth. The goal of these efforts is to help young people leave the streets.

The local grantees provide a range of services directly or through collaboration with other agencies, specifically those working to protect and treat young people who have been, or who are at risk of being, subjected to sexual abuse or exploitation. These services include the following: street-based education and outreach, access to emergency shelter, survival aid, individual assessments, treatment and counseling, prevention and education activities, information and referrals, crisis intervention, and follow-up support.

FYSB encourages its grantee programs to support young people through a positive youth development approach. That approach suggests that the best way to prevent young people’s involvement in risky behavior is to help them achieve their full potential. Youth development strategies, therefore, focus on giving young people the chance to exercise leadership, build skills, and become involved in their communities.

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