Local team joins movement to tackle youth homelessness in America

County of Santa Barbara logoOn Monday, June 29, the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care and 20 local stakeholders launched a 100-Day Challenge to reduce youth homelessness in Santa Barbara County. Stakeholders in addressing homelessness among youth include:


  • Allan Hancock Community College
  • Community Action Commission/South Coast Youth Safety Partnership
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates
  • Channel Islands YMCA Youth and Family Services
  • Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara
  • Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara
  • Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley
  • Good Samaritan Shelter
  • Lompoc School District
  • Community Day School
  • Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services
  • Santa Barbara County Education Office
  • Santa Barbara County Probation
  • Santa Barbara Unified School District
  • Santa Maria Joint Unified High School District
  • Transitions Mental Health
  • United Way Home For Good
  • Local youth with lived-experience of homelessness

According to a study by Chaplin Hall, one in 10 young adults age 18-25, and at least one in 30 adolescents age 13-17, experience some form of unaccompanied homelessness over the course of a year in the United States. The California Department of Education reports that in the 2018-19 school year, 8,316 students (11.7%) met the McKinney Vento definition of a homeless youth in Santa Barbara County school districts. In addition, 16,229 (59.1%) youth between the ages of 18 -24 are living below the poverty level according to the 2017 American Community Survey data for the Santa Barbara County CoC service area.

Community leaders across the nation are uniting to continue momentum towards an efficient and sustainable solution to this heartbreaking epidemic.

“The potential risks and dangers faced by youth experiencing homelessness are complex and require coordinated efforts between the educational sectors, child welfare system, juvenile justice system and service providers,” said Valerie Kissell, Executive Director of Youth & Family Services YMCA. “We are excited for the attention and focus to be on youth and young adults here in our communities that are tragically underrepresented.”

The Rapid Results Institute (RRI) and HomeBase, with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care is the sixth cohort to accept the 100-Day Challenge to accelerate efforts in preventing and ending youth homelessness within their communities.

The RRI 100-Day Challenge is designed to empower and support front-line teams in pursuit of an ambitious 100-Day goal to prevent and end youth homelessness. This methodology was pioneered by the Rapid Results Institute, and has been used in communities and governments around the world to tackle complex social issues. The compressed timeframe of 100 days, high visibility, and support from coaches, peers, and federal leaders all work together to inspire teams to achieve rapid progress and sustainable system change. So far, more than 2,400 youth and young adults have been housed during the course of RRI 100-Day Challenges.

Santa Barbara County has established a 100-day goal to achieve the following:

  • House 50 youth
  • Assign a navigator to 100 percent of youth identified on a real-time list of all people experiencing homelessness
  • 75 percent of youth accept case management with an individual service and housing retention plan

In the US Senate Report 115-268, the committee applauded HUD’s decision to provide funding for 100-Day Challenges, stating, ‘By offering local service providers the opportunity to come together to identify impediments and establish goals, the 100-Day Challenge leaves communities better prepared to confront youth homelessness in a comprehensive manner. The program also lays the groundwork for participants seeking to apply for a Youth Homelessness Demonstration Grant award.’

Jemine Bryon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of HUD, had this message for the new cohort, “Congratulations and thank you to this next round of communities for stepping up and being willing to devote the time and targeted effort to addressing youth homelessness. We and all the partners look forward to supporting and learning from you.”

Individuals, organizations, and communities interested in following the progress of these communities can sign up to receive news from RRI at www.rapidresults.org. Those interested can also follow the Challenge by searching #ChangeIn100Days and #EndYouthHomelessness on social media.

For more information about the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care, visit http://countyofsb.org/housing/homlessassistance/get-involved.sbc