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Mayor Hogsett announces recipients of Youth and Young Adults Housing Grant

Hogsett Presser.jpg
Posted at 2:07 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 18:26:57-04

INDIANAPOLIS — On Monday, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the recipients of the Youth and Young Adults Transitional Housing Grant.

In a partnership, 91Place and VOICES Corp will receive more than $4 million over three years. The money will be used to provide youth and young adults with emergency and transitional housing. The program will also incorporate a multi-phased wraparound resident care program.

The grant program is part of Hogsett’s 3-year, $150 million violence reduction plan. It is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.

“When I had the opportunity to move in, I just took it and ran with it,” Eba’Nesha Bowles said.

Youth experiencing homelessness is a crisis Bowles has seen and lived firsthand. For more than two years, she has called 91 Place home. It provides transitional housing for youth for up to two years.

“I’m not sure what my life would look like, but it’s been so good to me living in here, having all the resources,” Bowles said.

On the city’s Southeast side, VOICES provides the relationships, resources, and opportunities for youth to heal, grow, and further their path toward economic self-sufficiency and civically engaged lives.

Since 2019, the Eastside organization has focused on helping youth and young adults experiencing homelessness head-on through transitional housing. 91 Place also offers tenants, including bowels, wrap-around services think transportation, education and employment.

“We currently have a waitlist of 21 youth that are waiting to get into our programming and we have an average retention rate of about a year,” Jenna Shaffer, founder and CEO of 91 Place, said.

According to Marion County’s Point-in-Time-count, overall homelessness rates decreased by 9% in 2022. Every age group, the analysis detailed, saw a drop in numbers except those under 18 years old.

“We’re getting more and more inquires that are asking do you have availability and when they talk about the waitlist, they’re not even applying anymore because the waitlist is so long," Shaffer said.

91 Place will use the grant funding to add two more homes, create a therapy center and develop a youth-based workforce development program. It currently helps four young adults at a time, but with the grant can now help twelve.

“We can’t compete with that street money, right? And that street money is providing roofs over their heads, food on the table, but unless we’re offering an alternative, what are we doing?" Kia Wright, VOICES executive director and founder, said.

VOICES plans to add "four living spaces emergency shelter care and transitional housing for up to 22 youth."

“Addressing the root causes of violence is critical to making Indianapolis a safer community,” Hogsett said. “Today’s announcement represents a major investment in that approach, empowering young people with stable housing and connecting them with important resources. 91Place and VOICES have already worked miracles for young people in our city. I’m eager to see what they can do with this added support.”

Partnering, the two will provide services and stable housing for people up to 24 years old with a high risk of exposure to the criminal justice system.

Along with housing, the program includes mental health assessments, physical health assessments, trauma-informed therapy, life coaching, arts programming, workforce readiness planning and case management.