CitySquare TRAC Serves as Model for Best Practices

Date: May 4, 2017

Uspiritus, a Louisville-based organization that provides greater care for vulnerable children and families throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, recently sent its leadership to CitySquare’s TRAC program here in Dallas to collect guidance and insight as it seeks to open a transition center of its own for Kentucky foster youth. One of the key takeaways discussed by the teams was the importance of low-barrier housing within a housing-first model.

What does that mean? Foster youth are typically eager to escape the state’s system of care as they transition into adulthood. The last thing they want as they search for stability on their own is more programming, such as drug or mental health counseling.

That’s why TRAC focuses on quickly housing youth while teaching them how to be good neighbors. That aligns with the proven housing-first model CitySquare uses, as youth also need housing programs with low barriers.

That’s why, unlike other housing programs, TRAC only requires a simple face-to-face interview for youth to secure placement in a home. They don’t need to fill out long applications or submit to drug screens or criminal background checks. The lack of red tape means referrals to TRAC get responses much faster than referrals to other organizations: usually within 24-48 hours.

“That’s very unusual for housing programs like us,” says Carla Cleeton, Assistant Program Director for TRAC. She points out that response times for many organizations can be weeks or months. Since TRAC is housing-first and its housing is low-barrier, it can get youth off the street faster. “Every year we have organizations like Uspiritus that approach us for guidance and insight,” says Cleeton. More and more, organizations are looking at TRAC as a model for successfully transitioning youth out of foster care.