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FARMINGTON — The San Juan County Commission Tuesday voted to seek up to $263,000 to fund a rapid rehousing program that will assist people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are aging out of juvenile services.

This includes seven people currently living at the San Juan County Juvenile Detention Center who will be at least 18 years old when they are released. 

Juvenile Services Director Traci Neff said the families do not want these seven individuals to return home. Neff asked the San Juan County Commission to approve the grant application.

When asked about homeless youth who are younger than 18, Neff said juvenile services could partner with Childhaven in Farmington to assist the younger population depending on the demand for services from the older population.

She explained that the grant enables the county to assist youth ages 11 to 24.

Neff said it is becoming more common for young adults to leave the detention center after they turn 18.

“They’re getting committed much older and they’re aging out of our system and getting released at 19, sometimes 20 years old and families are not wanting them home,” Neff told commissioners.

Homeless youth at risk of becoming homeless adults

Youth who become homeless are likely to experience homelessness throughout their life, according to Hank Hughes, executive director the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

He said if organizations can intervene early on “we can save them a lifetime of suffering.”

In 2018, the coalition received $3.37 million in federal funding to develop a system that will address youth homelessness in 14 northern New Mexico counties, including San Juan County.

The money is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Counties were required to submit funding applications by Friday.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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