Oasis Center rolls out two new programs to prevent youth homelessness

Posted at 5:20 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 20:59:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Youth homelessness is a problem in Nashville. Many call it an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind issue" but on Tuesday, city and community leaders put the issue in the spotlight.

The Oasis Center developed two new programs to address youth and young adult homelessness in Nashville. The programs come thanks to a $3.5-million two-year grant the community received last year from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

At a news conference, Mayor David Briley thanked the community partners who came together to create a comprehensive effort to end youth and young adult homelessness in Nashville.

“No child should have to live on the streets in our city, and we must always work to provide the support and resources necessary to keep that from happening,” said Mayor Briley.

Mark Dunkerley, Chief Strategy Officer of Oasis Center, said the grant funding will be used for two new youth programs. During a two-year period, more than $1 million will be used each year to start a rental assistance program to house 70 young adults. The program will also offer housing location, counseling, and case management.

The remainder of the federal grant will use $639,000 to identify and help people 24 and younger living in a housing crises before they become homeless. Leaders said the program will rely on strong partnerships with Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Department of Children’s Services, and Nashville Juvenile Court when serving youth under age 18, with a focus on family reunification.

Both programs are guided by the principles of immediate access to housing with no preconditions, youth choice, Positive Youth Development, and trauma-informed care.

Dunkerley said starting in September, Oasis Center will look to hire people to put the plan into action.