Confronting the Crisis of Youth Homelessness, Tester Secures Nearly $3.5 Million for MT Continuum of Care Coalition

Senator: “How can we expect the next generation to succeed when too many of them don’t even have roofs over their heads?”

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – In an effort to address the crisis of youth homelessness in America, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced today that the Montana Continuum of Care (MT CoC) Coalition will receive $3,427,682 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to combat youth homelessness in the Treasure State.

MT CoC is a statewide organization based in Bozeman that pushes for cooperation between organizations working to end homelessness in Montana by managing the implementation of a statewide housing and service system, directing outreach, engagement, assessment and prevention strategies, helping organizations collaboratively apply for HUD grants, and managing overall performance of statewide efforts to end homelessness. The grant was awarded as part of HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, which works to provide funding to organizations around the country in an effort to end youth homelessness.

“How can we expect the next generation to succeed when too many of them don’t even have roofs over their heads?” Tester said. “These young folks are often overlooked, falling through the cracks of a system that’s often ill-equipped to help them. This funding will provide MT CoC with resources that can help them end youth homelessness in Montana and get these kids get back on their feet.”

According to HUD, Montana’s homeless population has grown by 33 percent since 2007, increasing by eight percent between 2016 and 2017. Young people often find themselves without a home as a result of escaping human trafficking, leaving abusive conditions, aging out of foster care, or because their parents or guardians are unreceptive of LGBTQ+ identities. Homeless youth in Montana are often unintentionally neglected by programs meant to safeguard them from these situations, forcing them to sleep on friends’ couches, in cars, or on the street.

As a senior member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Tester has been a leader in the fight to end homelessness. In budget negotiations earlier this year, he secured billions of dollars in funding for affordable housing programs and he helped provide more than $600,000 in grant funding for NeighborWorks programs in Montana, which allows communities across the state to invest in affordable housing.