To prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of young people who are surviving on the streets and to provide them with services that help them leave the streets, Congress established the Education and Prevention Services to Reduce Sexual Abuse of Runaway, Homeless, and Street Youth Program, through the Violence Against Women Act of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-322). The legislation funds street-based outreach and education for runaway and homeless youth. The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) has funded the Street Outreach Program
The Street Outreach Program enables organizations around the country to help young people out of homelessness and into safe shelter. To that end, the program promotes efforts by its grantees to build relationships between street outreach workers and runaway, homeless, and street youth.
The program’s primary goal is to provide street-based services to runaway, homeless, and street youth who are 21 years of age and younger and who have been subjected to, or are at risk of being subjected to, sexual abuse, prostitution, sexual exploitation, and severe forms of trafficking; and to build relationships between street outreach workers and runaway, homeless, and street youth to move youth into stable housing and prepare them for independence.
Street outreach programs provide services directly or by collaborating with other agencies. Street outreach programs work closely with other organizations to protect and treat young people who have been or are at risk of sexual abuse or exploitation. Street outreach services include:
FYSB requires grantees to incorporate a positive youth development (PYD) framework and a trauma-informed care (TIC) approach into their programs. PYD suggest that the best way to prevent risk and trauma is to help young people achieve their full potential. Youth development strategies focus on giving young people the chance to exercise leadership, build skills, and become involved in their communities.
FYSB funds the Street Outreach Program under the provisions of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-415), most recently reauthorized by the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (Public Law No: 115-385). As of FY2020, FYSB funds 118 Street Outreach grantee programs totaling more than $16 million.
FYSB solicits applications for the Street Outreach Program by posting funding announcements on Grants.gov and on the funding page for the National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families. Applications are competitively reviewed and successful applicants receive three-year grants.