NCSL’s new Youth Homelessness Fellows program will focus on the causes and consequences of youth and young adult homelessness, and potential policy solutions. The program is designed to provide educational support and technical assistance to legislators and legislative staff with a discernible interest in youth homelessness who are in a position to influence policy in their state. The program is ideal for those who chair, serve on or staff relevant policy or budget/appropriations committees.
The program provides legislators and legislative staff a unique opportunity to focus intensively on the impact of youth homelessness and its intersection with the child welfare, juvenile justice and education systems. Fellows engage in thoughtful policy discussions, learn from nationally recognized experts, connect with their peers from other states and receive technical assistance from NCSL.
Thanks to the Raikes Foundation, NCSL can offer this experience at no cost to members.
The Youth Homelessness Fellows Program aims to help participants expand their knowledge on the issue of youth homelessness, understand the intersections between, human services, child welfare, juvenile justice and education systems, and consider state policy solutions focused on elimination and prevention of homelessness.
Program participants will have the opportunity to:
- Build knowledge alongside other legislators and staff about new research and policy.
- Be part of a peer-learning environment that promotes the exchange of ideas and solutions related to youth and young adult homelessness.
- Learn from leading researchers and policy experts.
- Develop an individual legislative action plan.
- Request technical assistance from NCSL.
The program consists of two multi-day, in-person meetings and two webinars. The curriculum exposes fellows to emerging and evidence-based strategies to address youth homelessness, major federal policies and examples of state legislative activity. The nation’s leading researchers and policy experts serve as faculty and are available to help legislators identify policy solutions for their state. The small group structure allows for ample time to talk with experts and their peers.
In addition, NCSL offers technical assistance to fellows in the form of background research, testimony, bill drafting consultation and other means of support. This support is intended to help fellows fulfill their individual action plans.
Step 1: (Jan. – April)
NCSL asks legislative leadership offices in each state to nominate members for the program. Leaders nominate up to three legislators they believe would benefit from and contribute to the program. Legislative staff can apply to the program with permission from their supervisor.
Step 2: (Feb. – April)
NCSL invites all nominees to apply for the program.
Step 3: (May)
NCSL staff review applications and select about 25 fellows based on the content of their applications. Additional consideration is given to ensure the cohort is diverse in party affiliation, geography, race, ethnicity and gender. NCSL often receives more applications than available program spaces.
Step 4: (May)
NCSL notifies all applicants of the final status of their application. Those not selected are eligible to apply in future years. Those admitted receive a confirmation letter inviting them to participate in the program. They are asked to accept or decline the invitation by a deadline. At this time, applicants must commit to participating in two in-person meetings and two webinars.
Step 5: (June – September)
In-person and online activities generally take place in June, July, August and September. Fellows who do not fully participate will be removed from the cohort roster but will be eligible to apply again in future years.
Step 6: (Ongoing)
Program alumni receive invitations to participate in webinars and other events.