WHEREAS, there are 2.4 million young low-income adults in the United States between the ages of 16 and 24 who have left high school without a diploma or who are unemployed; and

WHEREAS, in YouthBuild programs, unemployed and undereducated young people ages 16-24 work toward their GED or high school diploma while learning job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people. Strong emphasis is placed on leadership development, community services, and the creation of a positive mini-community of adults and youth committed to success; and

WHEREAS, in 2005 there are more than 200 YouthBuild programs in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, engaging approximately 7,000 young adults; and

WHEREAS, in 2004, 91 percent of YouthBuild students entered the program without their GED or diploma, 33 percent had been adjudicated, and 27 percent received public assistance prior to joining YouthBuild. In spite of these overwhelming odds, 59 percent completed the program and 80 percent of graduates went to college or jobs above $8/hour, 25 percent go on to college; and

WHEREAS, YouthBuild is a public-private partnership. Each YouthBuild program secures its own funding generally a mix of government (federal, state, and local) and private support. Federal support for YouthBuild was authorized under Subtitle D of Title IV of Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act in 1992. Since then, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded YouthBuild grants and contracts totaling more than $500 million; and

WHEREAS, since 1993 more than 47,000 YouthBuild Students have produced over 13,000 units of low-income housing; and

WHEREAS, the nationís ability to reconnect unemployed and undereducated young adults is critical to crime prevention, workforce development, and economic development, NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors urges the federal, state, and local governments to increase their investment in YouthBuild; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors call on Congress to increase the level of the annual funding for the YouthBuild program to at least $140 million.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352