'Effort to combat homelessness:' Sec. Ben Carson stops in Milwaukee to announce new initiative

MILWAUKEE -- Secretary of HUD Ben Carson was in Milwaukee on Friday, July 26 to announce a new initiative. It's aimed at helping foster children who age out of the system.

Ben Carson

For Secretary Ben Carson, a short trip to Milwaukee included a tour of Journey House, and he was impressed.

"I believe that this is a model that needs to be replicated," said Ben Carson, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Journey House helps families move out of poverty. The organization also works with kids who age-out of the foster care system. That mission is why Carson chose the Journey House gym as the spot to make an announcement.

"This new program is a collaborative effort to combat homelessness among at-risk youth by targeting housing assistance to young people who are leaving foster care," said Carson.

Ben Carson

Called the Foster Youth to Independence Initiative, or FYI, the program will make more people eligible for vouches through their local public housing authority.

Journey House

"What we found is, when our young people find stabilized homes, all of this hope starts to begin," said Michele Bria, Journey House CEO.

Journey House CEO Michele Bria says housing is an important first step.

Three Journey House success stories stood behind Carson during the announcement.

20-year-old Eli Romo was surprised Carson made the trip.

Ben Carson

Ben Carson

"It's really humbling to see someone of his level is coming down to us to talk to us and to propose this to us," said Eli Romo, Journey House fellow.

People can start applying for assistance Saturday, July 27. When asked, HUD officials were not sure exactly how many people this program will be able to help. They did say around 20,000 kids age-out of foster care every year.