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#TalkRadio – December 19: A Home for the Holidays?: Addressing The Needs of Homeless Youth

December 19, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

December 19: A Home for the Holidays?: Addressing The Needs of Homeless Youth

The show call in number is

The nonpartisan “Igniting Change Radio Show with Barbara Arnwine, Esq. and Daryl Jones, Esq.” program will be aired from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Radio One’s WOL 1450 AM in the Washington, DC metropolitan area as well as nationwide on WOLDCNEWS.COM and Barbaraarnwine.com

Please note, during the show there are 3 hard stop commercial breaks at 12:13 PM Eastern Time, 12:28 PM ET and 12:43 PM ET. 


Bryan Sanders: 12:00 PM – 12:57 PM ET
Transformative Justice Coalition Fellow and Freedom Rider; Certified Master Trainer and lead organizer and partnership developer for Wisconsin Voices

Constance Crockett: 12:00 PM – 12:57 PM ET
Transformative Justice Coalition Fellow and Freedom Rider; Resident Care Worker and Youth Event Coordinator at Courage Initiative MKE; Founder/President of the Black Woman’s Emancipation; IG: Connie_acacia; Tiktok: conniesille

Amber Green: 12:00 PM – 12:28 PM ET
Executive Director/Founder of the Fenix Youth Project Inc.; Former Youth Development Specialist for her local city government; Sits on both the Youth Development Advisory Committee and the Truth, Racial, Unity, Transformation and Healing (TRUTH) committee; Starred in The Sign (2018) , a documentary about the removal of a confederate marker located just a few feet from the 2nd to last Lynching in state of Maryland; Newly appointed to the Maryland Equitable Justice Collaborative, working amongst state leaders who are working to address the overincarceration of African American Marylanders. 

Donald Whitehead: 12:28 PM – 12:57 PM ET
Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless


The Igniting Change Radio Show on Tuesday, December 19th, 2023, from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Eastern Time, entitled, “A Home for the Holidays?: Addressing The Needs of Homeless Youth”, will be live with Radio Show Co-Hosts and Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) Co-Leaders Attorneys Barbara Arnwine, Esq. and Daryl Jones, Esq. and guests Amber Green, Donald Whitehead, Bryan Sanders, and Constance Crockett. This show will spotlight organizations and individuals at the national and local levels who are working to help homeless youth and will discuss what causes youth homelessness; how to prevent youth homelessness; what YOU can do to assist youth who are homeless or housing insecure this holiday season and all year long; and, more.

The first half of the show will focus on a local organization in Maryland that helps unhoused youth, the Fenix Youth Project and will interview its President and Founder, Amber Green. Dedicated to empowering our country’s future leaders and marginalized groups, Amber founded Fenix Youth Project Inc. (FYP), a creative arts youth development 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on empowering youth to make social change while using art as a tool. Fenix Youth Project continues to be a trail blazing organization when servicing the homeless youth population of Lower Eastern Shore. Their programming creates a creative and safe space that provides experiences and resources to marginalized youth to help them build and gain leadership skills and to become actively engaged in social justice and community issues. FYP provides Housing Search Support, Job Search Support, Life Coaching and Planning to Unaccompanied Youth between the ages of 14-24 and those exiting the foster care system. Programs include, but are not limited to: 

  • Hair Me Out – an innovative program designed to empower and engage youth who have textured hair. This program provides youth with the skills and resources they need to feel confident and proud of their unique hair texture. The program benefits all youth, including homeless youth, by providing them with the tools they need to succeed. Through workshops, mentorship, and community engagement, Hair Me Out inspires youth to embrace their individuality and celebrate their natural beauty. 

  • The Boxing Fitness Class- Led by Mr. Kevin Leatherbury, a community boxing fitness trainer, the program combines basic boxing techniques and exercises with fun and challenging workouts that can be customized to different fitness levels and goals. Preferably serving ages 13-19, this program is designed for teenagers and young adults who want to learn self-defense, lose weight, or just have fun, this class is for them

  • EmpowerHER: Empowering Today; Shaping Tomorrow- A 6-month program designed to empower and equip a select group of teen girls aged 13-18 with essential life skills, knowledge, and confidence as they transition back into the community from detention placement.The program focuses on sexual safety, positive relationships, good feminine habits, self-empowerment, self-defense, and leadership development. On Mondays, participants can expect to hear from guest speakers, participate in group activities and discussions, and plan the week’s Podcast Episode. Wednesdays participants can expect to be in the studio recording their podcast. Each participant will get the opportunity to rotate roles and will get experience in hosting, audio and visual recording, and editing. 

Youth between the ages of 14 and 24 are welcome to participate in programming at FYP’s youth drop-in center, though they must call 443-736-7028 for more information. In addition to the programming above, FYP also has a Youth Advisory Board; a studio where youth can record their music for free; and, encourages schools, churches, and youth groups in certain local areas to request the FYP to come visit their community for a “Rhyme, Rhythm, and Redemption Session”, which can consist of Creative Writing Session, Digital Media Session, 3-Day Writing Series, 5-Day Digital Media Series, and Youth & Adults Dialogue Group. The Rhyme, Rhythm, and Redemption Program is designed for juveniles transitioning out of foster care; juveniles recently released from detention; and, juveniles on probation. 

Igniting Change is highlighting the amazing work of the Fenix Youth Project and encouraging you to donate this Giving Season at https://fenixyouthproject.networkforgood.com/projects/214377-support-fyp-2024 to help support the youth of Eastern Mayland. FYP also needs host homes: people who have extra rooms in their homes and are willing to take in homeless youth on a short or long term basis. Youth have an especially hard time being housed, and FYP doesn’t like people treating kids or the parents like the enemy, but instead insists on a broader appreciation for how to deal with difficulties such as counseling needs of parents and youth. The truth is youth who become homeless mainly are so because of problems at home, the lack of affordable housing, growing up housing insecure; juvenile detention; or, being in the foster care system- but no one should be penalized by not having a safe place to call home because of any of these reasons. Obtaining services are also harder for youth as the majority of programs are focused on those 18+, making FYP especially unique in its focus on those as young as 13 who simply need opportunities, guidance, respect, and safety. As stated on their website, “homelessness looks different for young people than for adults. Some are homeless as a result of the death, incarceration or substance abuse of a parent, or overcrowding in their homes. Others run away, age out of foster care or leave a juvenile justice facility with nowhere to go. Disproportionate numbers are African-American or gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”

According to the Texas Homeless Network, “One in three transgender people in the United States have experienced homelessness. The 2019 PIT Count revealed some terrible disparities in gender identity and housing. 63% of transgender people and 80% of nonbinary people experiencing homelessness were unsheltered. These numbers are high for a lot of reasons, and all of them are related to discrimination… One study from the Urban Institute found that transgender people who disclosed their gender were less likely to be told about available rental options. This compounds with other factors such as transgender and nonbinary people are often being stuck in lower-paying jobs because there is a deficit in affirming and trans-inclusive employment options… In one study from the Williams Institute at UCLA, they found that just under 85% of transgender and nonbinary people experiencing homelessness have avoided sheltering systems entirely because of fear of mistreatment and harassment by staff or other people staying there. The same study found that 41.4% of those who sought shelter were denied it, 29.8% were openly denied because of their gender expression, and 44% reported experiencing mistreatment at a shelter within the past year. Another barrier is that shelters are often sex-segregated based on the gender marker on an ID and/or their sex assigned at birth, instead of an individual’s gender identity despite guidance from HUD to the contrary This exposes people to further traumatization and hostility, like mental, physical, and/or sexual violence or abuse. Transgender and nonbinary people are 4 times more likely to experience rape, sexual assault, or aggravated assault.” Data from the Point In Time Count revealed “[s]ince 2017, the number of transgender individuals experiencing homelessness has increased 57%, while the number of gender non-conforming individuals has increased 80%.” 

It should be noted that the Point In Time Count itself will generally have lower numbers than the actual count. “The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. HUD requires that CoCs conduct an annual count of people experiencing homelessness who are sheltered in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and Safe Havens on a single night.” The PIT is done on a very cold night of the year, and doesn’t include those who may be couch surfing- who are also considered homeless. “Since [the publication of the Criteria and Recordkeeping Requirements for the Definition of Homeless], HUD has also published Determining Homeless Status of Youth to help providers understand how youth meet HUD’s definition of homelessness in each of the four categories, though that guidance expands easily to help providers assess definition eligibility of other populations. This document helps to clarify that individuals who lack resources and support networks to obtain permanent housing meet HUD’s definition of homeless.

Categories of homeless include experiences of those who:

  1. Are trading sex for housing

  2. Are staying with friends, but cannot stay there for longer than 14 days

  3. Are being trafficked

  4. Left home because of physical, emotional, or financial abuse or threats of abuse and have no safe, alternative housing”

Even though the Point In Time Count is flawed, it still provides valuable needed data. As stated on the National Coalition for the Homeless’ Website, “On a single night in 2020, HUD recorded 171,575 homeless families with children in the United States…Children without a home are in fair or poor health twice as often as other children, and have higher rates of asthma, ear infections, stomach problems, and speech problems (Better Homes Fund, 1999). Homeless children also experience more mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and withdrawal. They are twice as likely to experience hunger, and four times as likely to have delayed development. These illnesses have potentially devastating consequences if not treated early. Deep poverty and housing instability are especially harmful during the earliest years of childhood; alarmingly, it is estimated that almost half of children in shelters are under the age of five (Homes for the Homeless, 1998)…School-age homeless children face barriers to enrolling and attending school, including transportation problems, residency requirements, inability to obtain previous school records, and lack of clothing and school supplies. Parents also suffer the ill effects of homelessness and poverty. One study of homeless and low-income housed families found that both groups experienced higher rates of depressive disorders than the overall female population, and that one-third of homeless mothers (compared to one-fourth of poor housed mothers) had made at least one suicide attempt (Bassuk et al., 1996). In both groups, over one-third of the sample had a chronic health condition. Homelessness frequently breaks up families. Families may be separated as a result of shelter policies which deny access to older boys or fathers. Separations may also be caused by placement of children into foster care when their parents become homeless. In addition, parents may leave their children with relatives and friends in order to save them from the ordeal of homelessness or to permit them to continue attending their regular school.”

For the second half of the show, Barbara and Daryl will interview Donald Whitehead, Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). In 2017, the National Coalition for the Homeless released a report and call to action entitled “National Campaign for Youth Shelter” which delves more into all the aspects of youth homelessness this show description has been discussing. The National Coalition for the Homeless is made up of staff, volunteers, Board Members, Individual and Organizational Members, and concerned citizens who all share the view that everyone should have a home. Most importantly, we are led by people who themselves have experienced homelessness in some form, and have lived expertise on how to solve the root causes of homelessness.Throughout NCH’s history, our homeless-led advocacy has worked to create lasting local solutions to the national problem of homelessness. We have long advocated for addressing the root causes of homelessness, including the lack of affordable housing, through policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, and public education (dispelling negative stereotypes and preserving the civil rights of people experiencing homelessness). The National Coalition for the Homeless was the first national advocacy organization to:

  • involve homeless/formerly homeless people in leadership positions.

  • build a national movement to end homelessness led by people who have been unhoused.

  • address the educational needs/rights of homeless children.

  • tackle Veteran homelessness and housing insecurity.

  • convene a national homelessness conference.

In addition, NCH staff has helped draft federal, state, and local legislation, such as:

  • The landmark McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (1987)

  • McKinney-Vento education legislation (1987, 2001)

  • Bringing America Home Act (2003)

  • Neighborhood Stabilization Act (2008)

(Read more and view the source at NCH’s website: NationalHomeless.org) 

NCH also has a focus on voting rights with their “You Don’t Need A Home To Vote Campaign” and Donald has been a Trainer at several of TJC’s Gen Z and Millennial Votes Matter Trainings, with their voting campaign being passed out at even more events. 

Two graduates of the Gen Z and Millennial Votes Matter Trainings, Bryan Sanders and Constance Crockett, will also be on Igniting Change for the entire show to share their perspectives as youth and not only voting rights advocates, but their work helping those who are homeless or housing insecure.

Bryan Sanders used to work in his community helping homeless people get good jobs by providing resume assistance, job searches, and mock interviews. Bryan helped over a thousand homeless people enhance their job training skills and prepare them for the workforce.

Constance Crockett currently is a Resident Care Worker and the Youth Event Coordinator at the only LGBT group home in the state of Wisconsin, Courage Initiative MKE. Constance is a Black, LGBT, and disability advocate who founded and is president of the Black Woman’s Emancipation, leading the voices of Black women and Trans women in the state of Wisconsin.



  • Amber, what compelled you to found the Fenix Youth Project, Inc.?
  • Amber, please describe the mission and work of the Fenix Youth Project?
  • Amber, how do people go to your website?
  • Bryan and Constance, you work with homeless youth. What are your impressions of the Fenix Youth Project?
  • As a 501(c)(3), contributions to the Fenix Youth Project are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. How do people donate?
  • [For all] People get the wrong impressions about why people are homeless. They always think they’re the “bad kids”, yet a big percentage of students at HBCU’s are homeless when not staying at their dorms.  What are some of the main causes of youth homelessness?
  • The Fenix Youth Project also has a need for “host homes”. Please describe how people can help.
  • Amber, right now, we have people listening from all over the country. Some people are already home for the holidays. What is your advice to families right now who are experiencing family tensions, those who are thinking of putting someone out on the street, or a young person may be thinking of running away (departing the home)?
  • How do people access those resources?
  • Right now, what can our listeners do? How can people help? What website do people go to for more information?
  • Amber, what are your final thoughts to our listeners?
  • Amber, Thank you for all of your hard work. How do our listeners get in contact with you?


  • Donald, welcome back to Igniting Change. Thank you for being here. Tell us about the current mission and current programming of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
  • Donald, Homelessness is a national issue. How can our listeners find local groups to contribute to?
  • [For all] Besides donations, how can people help someone who is homeless? (care packages, job skills, transportation, mentoring, just smiling, treating people with dignity)
  • Thank you, Donald, for serving as a panelist for our most recent Gen Z and Millennial Votes Matter Leadership Training program this past september and providing over 50 copies of NCH’s “You Don’t Need To Vote” Campaign”. What is your perspective in making sure future voting rights leaders know the importance of helping the homeless community?
  • Bryan and Constance, what does it mean to you that TJC has a focus on homelessness during our Training Events?
  • Bryan, What is the major work that you’re pursuing right now?
  • Constance, What do you think is the most important grassroots organizing that you think needs to happen in order to ensure strong voter protection and engagement in November 2023 and 2024?
  • Donald, If people want to make a difference and help address this crisis of homelessness, what are your final thoughts to our listeners?
  • [For All] Thank you for all of your hard work. How do our listeners get in contact with you?


December 19, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Transformative Justice Coalition


News Talk1450
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