The HOPE Act legislation, passed in 1999, created two new programs to address street youth; HOPE Centers and Responsible Living Skills Programs.
HOPE Centers provide temporary residential placements for street youth under the age of 18. These are homeless youth living on the street or other unsafe locations. Youth may self-refer to a HOPE Center for services. Entering a HOPE Center is voluntary. While residing in a HOPE Center, each youth will undergo a comprehensive assessment to include:
- The youth's legal status
- A physical examination
- A mental health evaluation
- A chemical abuse evaluation
- An educational evaluation of their basic skills, along with any learning disabilities or special needs
The purpose of the assessment is to develop the best plan for the youth. The plan will focus on finding a permanent and stable home for the youth. This plan might include reunifying the youth with his or her parent(s) or legal guardian and/or getting the youth into a transitional living situation and off the streets.