$2.2 million giving to Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition to prevent youth homelessness

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF)- “Couch surfing can lead to being a chronically homeless person,” said Outreach specialist for homeless coalition Dylan Green.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $2.2 million to Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition as a means to combat youth homelessness and prevent 18-24 years turning into chronic homelessness.

“It is usually the first step in homelessness you go from couch surfing, then you go to stay in your car, then something happens, you lose your car, and then you’re actually one of our real homeless people on the streets,” said Green.

:This will help prevent young people from experiencing chronic homelessness,” said Chattanooga Reginal Homeless Coalition Executive Director Wendy Winters.

Winters says this is the largest money grant given to the coalition’s youth program and will be instrumental in providing aid to those experiencing youth homelessness.

“A lot of resources in the homeless response system is focused on those who experience chronic homelessness so they’ve been on the street for a year or more. We don’t want young people to experience chronic homelessness we want them to realize their dreams. This will help prevent young people from experiencing chronic homelessness,” said Winters.

He said as someone who experienced homelessness himself he and the rest of the board can use that experience to find those couch surfing or living out of their car and use the money to help those youths suffering.

“The young adult advisory board is going to be there to guide the money because we have a live experience. We should be able to hopefully identify ways of tracking people who are Couchsurfing and who are kind of off the radar,” said Green.

“The Youth Adult Advocacy Board is alongside us, letting their voice to help us set priorities for this funding. Then our partner agencies will be able to apply to help us make those priorities,” said Winters.

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