$500,000 released to help homeless youth

Several local programs focused on helping at-risk youth received a boost this week, as Gov. Linda Lingle released a $500,000 grant-in-aid for the Hawai`i Youth Services Network. The funds will enable the network and its partners to expand a federally funded “transitional living program” to help youths ages 16 to 21 years gain skills that are
essential for successful independent living, Lingle said. “Many youth ‘age out’ of state assistance programs,
or through other circumstances, [and] lose access to the support systems that can help them,” she said. “The funding of this private partnership will help ensure such youth receive needed services to become self-sufficient and end the cycle of homelessness.” Services include emergency housing, counseling, skills training, medical and mental health care, and financial assistance. Network partners include Hale Kipa, Maui Youth and Family Services, Family Support Services of West Hawai`i, and the Hilo Salvation Army. The network — a coalition of more than 50 youth-serving agencies and
organizations statewide — is financed through a five-year federal grant that was first awarded in 2003. It works closely with the State Office of Youth Services.

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