HOST's two-generation approach places youth success at the center. Developing effective place-based models that reach youth is critical not only for improving young people, but for ensuring community health and viability.
HOST case managers helped youth find after-school programs, connected youth to resources to help pay for school, supported young people accessing mental health care, and paid for necessities like winter jackets and school uniforms. Services for youth also engaged parents. HOST case managers helped parents advocate for their children in the school system, gaining students individualized education programs and extra help when needed.
T Reach [the Benning Terrace youth program] helped [my daughter] get into a mentoring program. She needed a psychiatrist and…mentor. They helped her a lot.…Today she’s in 11th grade. When she got here, she was two grades behind. Now, she’s working with the police department. They pay her a stipend.
A parent at the Washington, DC, HOST site talks about her daughter’s success
The Housing Opportunities and Services Together (HOST) Demonstration is testing the feasibility and effectiveness of two generation intensive service models in distressed public and mixed-income housing communities. This brief draws on findings from the 2012 survey of parents and youth living in the first two HOST sites - Chicago's Altgeld Gardens and Portland's New Columbia and Humboldt Gardens - to illustrate how HOST youth were faring at the start of the HOST intervention. Our survey results demonstrate HOST youth are at serious risk of experiencing school failure, they engage in risky sexual activity, and suffer from poor mental health.
Two-generation models target low-income children and their parents in hopes of interrupting the cycle of poverty. These models vary widely, and policymakers and practitioners need guidance on how best to design them. This brief uses insights from the Housing Opportunities and Services Together Demonstration to present an updated theoretical framework for these models. The framework emphasizes the importance of using family goals to target individual family members, setting individual goals, and aligning tailored and appropriate solutions. This lens also emphasizes prioritizing relationship-building over programs and designing flexible evaluation approaches, while working for systems change to support families in their efforts.