WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded a $253,124 grant to the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority through its Family Unification Program (FUP). The funding will go toward the unification and preservation of child welfare-involved families that lack adequate housing, and the prevention and ending of homelessness among youth with a current or prior history of child welfare involvement.

“This pandemic is yet another painful reminder of how vulnerable millions of families are to a single setback – whether it is losing your job, a broken-down car, or just being late on rent,” said Brown. “We have an obligation to support families, young people, and communities who are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. For too many parents,  lack of housing remains a barrier to health and opportunity. Housing instability should never be the reason a child is separated from their parents or the reason a young person is forced into homelessness or unstable housing conditions. While these funds are good news for Akron, there’s still more work to do in Washington. I’m continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that Congress is doing all we can to help families and individuals who don’t have adequate housing.”

Last year, Brown introduced the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act, which would provide Family Unification Vouchers (FUP) “on demand” to foster youth who are at risk of homelessness as they transition to adulthood. This means that young adults will be able to receive an FUP voucher from HUD as they are aging out of foster care—rather than having to spend years on waiting lists for one to become available.

Each year, approximately 20,000 youth across the country age out of foster care. This results in a sudden and permanent transition from foster care to adulthood. Unfortunately, this sudden transition places these vulnerable young adults at risk of homelessness and housing instability due to the loss of the financial, educational, and social supports that the child welfare system provides.