With more than 40 years of experience serving homeless youth and young adults, we can say with certainty that the best way to end youth homelessness is to prevent youth homelessness from ever occurring. That’s why homelessness prevention has been a growing focus of our work over the last several years, and why our board of directors has chosen to endorse KC Prop 1 – Best Starts for Kids. This property tax levy is expected to raise about $65 million per year (at a cost to the average homeowner of about $1 per week) for prevention and early intervention programs supporting children and youth in our community, from birth through age 24.

By the time young people end up in our shelter and housing programs, or accessing mental health and chemical dependency services, they have often slipped through multiple cracks in the systems designed to catch them. Best Starts for Kids will invest in programs aimed at ensuring that all young people in our community have the resources and support they need to thrive from birth through young adulthood.

In addition, levy funds will be used to create and maintain a youth and family homelessness prevention initiative modeled on a proven local pilot program that moves survivors of domestic violence forward in their lives to safety, and stability. At YouthCare, we’ve seen how effective it is to support a family, and prevent a fracture or trauma that results in a young people landing on the streets.

We know that shelter, housing, job training, educational opportunities, and the support of caring adults are the most impactful and effective strategies for helping homeless youth move off the streets and prepare for life, and that preventing a first night on the streets is the best way to end youth homelessness permanently. Best Starts for Kids will provide the prevention services necessary to help our community’s young people thrive. Vote yes on KC Prop 1 in November.