The Homeless Youth Project is a collaboration between the Junior League of Abilene and Abilene ISD’s Department of Homeless Services, including other multiple agencies within the community that serve the homeless youth population in Taylor County. The League works with these partners to identify resources needed addressing the issue(s) of (1) health and hygiene, (2) clothing & other necessary resources, and (3) food insecurity.
The League’s priorities when entering into this collaboration are to help the AISD Homeless Liaison organize, manage, and eventually more effectively meet the needs of the homeless youth community. In Spring 2018, there were more than 1,400 youth identified as homeless or unaccompanied. The Homeless Youth Project is still a developing program that reassesses needs on an ongoing continual basis. The League will also continue to build and make known the resources needed and identified by the AISD Homeless Liaison to ensure that items are always accessible at the time most needed.
The Junior League of Abilene accepts the same definition contained in federal law (McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Act) which defines “homeless children” to be those who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
More specifically, the following also meet the definition of “homelessness”:
- In a shelter (family shelter, domestic violence shelter, youth shelter, or transitional living program);
- In a motel, hotel, or in weekly-rate housing;
- In a house or apartment with more than one family because of economic hardship or loss;
- In temporary foster care or with an adult who is not the student’s parent or legal guardian;
- In sub-standard housing (no electricity, no water, and/or no heat); or
- With friends or family because the student is a runaway or an unaccompanied youth.