The Virgin Islands Housing Authority has announced that its YouthBuild U.S. Virgin Islands Program has been awarded $750,143 by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is one of 74 grants and the only U.S. territory to be awarded. The funding allows the program to continue and expand its effective YouthBuild program serving low-income youth who have previously left high school without a diploma and are seeking a path to productive lives.
With this funding, the VIHA Youthbuild will serve 50 young people territory-wide over a two-year period with education and job skills. Over the past two years, the program has placed over 20 young people in jobs rehabilitating public housing units, and a total of 10 participants earned their GEDs, according to a press release issued by the VIHA.
YouthBuild is a youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention and leadership development. In the program, low-income young people ages 16-24 work full time for six to 24 months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable and increasingly green housing for homeless and low-income people and participating in leadership development and service activities in their communities.
“This funding is a tremendous affirmation of our success in serving the young people in our community who had left high school without a diploma, who had almost given up hope and who needed to find a pathway into productive lifestyles,” said Robert Graham, VIHA executive director. “We are profoundly grateful and exited to have the resources to prepare young people for college and jobs, and to give them a chance to rebuild their communities while rebuilding their lives.”
For further information, contact Irma F. Hodge, director of Public Relations, Resident Services, at 715-7332 or Carla Joseph, program manager, at 714-2102.