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Rapid Rehousing Services Provided for Orange County Homeless Young Adults with HIV

Public Health & Safety

Orange County Health Services Department was recently awarded a $1M SURE (Supporting Replication of Housing Interventions in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program) grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration through Corporation for Supportive Housing to provide rapid rehousing services to young adults ages 18-24 currently homeless in Orange County and living with HIV.

Ten applications nationwide were awarded, and Orange County was the only one awarded to provide services specifically targeting youth and young adults living with HIV. The application was submitted in collaboration with Zebra Youth, a local not-for-profit organization focused on delivering services to the LGBTQ+ youth population in Orange County.

“Zebra Youth is a well-established organization that specializes in assisting youth facing homelessness, bullying and isolation from their families with individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability,” explained Claudia Yabrudy, Manager of Health Services Fiscal and Operational Support Division, Orange County Government. “Since the target population identified for this initiative is youth and young adults, Zebra was the perfect collaborator.”

The three-year grant offers case management services, housing location services, move-in and rental assistance, as well as coordination of medical and support services. Orange County is responsible for administrating the grant; Zebra Youth is responsible for providing case management and housing assistance services.

“The LGBTQ+ community is at much greater risk for HIV, so funding is critical to serve this population,” said Heather Wilkie, executive director, Zebra Youth. “Rapid rehousing helps with case management because the program connects them to prescriptions, oversight and doctors’ appointments, plus follow through, so they can stay healthy.”

Wilkie affirmed the grant money will go a long way in helping get those within this target population into permanent, supportive housing while they try to get connected with healthy systems and the resources they need.

“Central Florida is unique in that it offers programs like this,” said Wilkie. “We have a large LGBTQ+ population here, and that’s because of our strong support structure. Getting this grant sends an important message that we have support from the County, which is proactive in securing these grants and providing these much-needed services.”

As the official recipient of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part A Program, Orange County provides funding for medical and support services through not-for-profit, private, public and government entities. The SURE grant fills the housing gap, as recipients are connected with Ryan White program services, including medical care, medication assistance, food, transportation, mental health, substance abuse and oral health.

“We can’t do this alone,” said Wilkie, “but with the support we get from the County and other local organizations and entities, as a team, we’re able to offer a broad range of critical services to those in need. We feel fortunate to be in a community that’s so collaborative and supportive.”

Go to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part A Program for more information. For more information about Zebra Youth’s services and programs, go to Zebra Youth.

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