To access any of the services included on this website – plus so much more – connect to the Central Navigator in your area. If you do not know who that person is, simply text “HELP” to 402-226-5842 or 308-280-8383.
Nebraska's Connected Youth Initiative offers different financial well-being programs designed to help young people achieve educational and employment success, financial security and stable housing.
Opportunity Passport Program
Want to buy a car? Pay for college? Save towards buying a house? Start a cool business?
Connected Youth Initiative can help you make your dreams a reality!
A part of the Connected Youth Initiative, in partnership with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, the Nebraska Opportunity Passport™ Program can help you work towards future goals through a program of financial education and asset development. The Opportunity Passport™ program provides ﬁnancial opportunities, support, and connections for Connected Youth in Nebraska - to help you develop an understanding of managing your personal finances, understand credit and establish a bank account as you transition to adulthood.
Upon completion of financial literacy course, you will receive $100 to kick start your savings. Once you have saved enough money to meet your goal, you can request up to $6,000 in matched funds!
Opportunity Passport™ operates in every Nebraska county. To connect to the Opportunity Passport™ program, contact your community’s Central Navigator, your CYI Coach, or your caseworker.
Low Interest Youth Loan Program
Need a loan to purchase a car?
Financial partners across the state offer low-interest, low-risk loans – below 4% - for young people who are receiving financial case management or CYI Coaching.
This program offers you the opportunity to build or repair your credit, learn positive financial behaviors, and build relationships with financial institutions in your own community. You have the opportunity to secure a loan for up to $2,000 for a term of up to 24 months for a variety of needs including debt consolidation, vehicle purchase or repair, housing needs, health needs, education and/or training needs, and small business start-up costs.
You can work with your Coach to determine if a loan is the right step for you and your Coach will continue to provide support throughout the term of your loan.
Support Services Funds
Is your budget squeezed? Are you facing eviction because of unpaid rent? Do you have a shut-off notice? Do you need a pair of work boots to be successful at your new job?
You can apply for unconditional emergency cash when you need it through the Support Services Fund (these used to be called “Needs Based Funds”). Support Services Funds are available to young people ages 14-26 via Central Navigation. The easiest and quickest way to connect to these emergency-based cash assistance is by contacting your local Central Navigator or your CYI Coach.
Nebraska Friends of Foster Care grant
Caseworkers, foster parents, or other service providers may apply for grants for foster youth/children under the age of 19 who are currently state wards and in out-of-home care for things like educational assistance, school supplies, sports/activity fees, driver’s education, summer camp, graduation costs, senior pictures, prom attire, music and dance lessons, and cultural activities. Click here for more information.
Young Adult Maternity Leave Match Savings Program
The Young Adult Maternity Leave Match Savings program provides expectant mothers with an opportunity to save toward financial goals prior to the birth of her child. Expectant mothers, ages 14-25, save money and savings are matched with additional financial support. The hope is that new moms can focus on caring and bonding with baby rather than stressing about the financial impact of missed work/school and other bills. This program is only available to residents of Douglas and Sarpy counties at this time.
Applicants must have bills in their name, be pregnant, live in Douglas or Sarpy county, and have a source of income. The applications will be reviewed as received. Please allow up to 15 business days for review and processing of applications. Applications must be filled out completely to be considered. Complete your application by contacting your local Central Navigator, your CYI Coach, or HERE.
- AccessNebraska: The Department of Health and Human Services administers and manages eligibility for Medicaid and Economic Assistance programs through ACCESSNebraska.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Assists low-income households in meeting energy costs. Benefits are based on family size, income level, fuel type, and geographic residency in the state.
- Aid to Dependent Children (ADC): The ADC Program provides financial payments to dependent children, age 18 or younger, and eligible parents who meet financial eligibility requirements.
- Emergency Assistance to Families with Children (EA): provides help to families in a situations which are threatening the health or well-being of an eligible child and family.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP assists households with limited assets and income to buy the food they need for good health. Households qualify for SNAP benefits based on available household assets, income, and certain expenses. If the household is eligible, SNAP benefits are placed on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card for the household to buy food.
Income Tax Support
Filing your taxes can be stressful and scary! But there is help for you.
Free help to file your taxes can be found at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites across Nebraska. Find a site near you here.
You can visit Code for America’s website to connect with an IRS-certified volunteer who can help you file your taxes for free.
You can also connect with your CYI Coach to help you connect to tax preparation services in your own community.
iFoster National Phone Program
iFoster National Phone Program for foster and kinship youth offers low-cost devices and plans with no carrier contract required.
For more information or to sign-up, call or email Sarah at iFoster at (213) 421-8835 or email@example.com.
Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project
Did you know that a group of Nebraska youth helped co-design a plan to end youth homelessness in our state? Well, they did just that and now YOU can benefit from the ideas these young emerging leaders recommended!
The Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program is an exciting new program and integrated system of care in Lincoln and Greater Nebraska (so, everything outside of the Omaha metro area) that helps young people, ages 18-24, experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness (like couch-surfing). There are an array of services available to you like housing vouchers and support, emergency housing, coaching support, short-term funding for eviction prevention, and more!
To access this support, you simply go through a process called coordinated entry. You can access coordinated entry by contacting your local Central Navigator or talking to your CYI Coach. You can also find your local access point and contact them directly at All Doors Lead Home.
Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Housing Voucher
Are you between the ages of 18 and 24, are within 90 days of leaving foster care and want financial support to pay for housing?
If you are between the ages of 18 and 24 and left foster care (or will leave foster care) within 90 days, you might be eligible for a housing voucher called Foster Youth To Independence – or FYI. This voucher is meant to help young people aging out of the foster care system who need help finding safe housing. Those that receive the voucher must also participate in CYI Coaching towork 1:1 with someone to help you with things like your education goals, transportation, or budgeting for the future.
To learn if you are eligible for an FYI voucher, contact Deanna Brakhage at Department of Health and Human Services, firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local Central Navigator.
Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA)
Did you lose your job because of COVID-19 and struggling to pay rent?
Rental Assistance is available to assist households in Nebraska that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is available for renters (homeowners are not eligible for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program).
- Nebraskans residing outside of Lincoln, Omaha, Lancaster County, Douglas County and Native Communities (Greater Nebraska)
- Nebraskans residing in Lancaster County and City of Lincoln
- Nebraska residing in the City of Omaha
- Nebraska residing in Douglas Count
- Omaha Tribal Housing Authority or call +1 (402) 837-5728
- Northern Ponca Tribal Housing Authority or call +1 (402) 379-8224 (Norfolk) or +1 (402) 505-3055 (Omaha)
United Way of the Midlands 2-1-1
It can be difficult to find and afford safe, reliable housing in your community. If you are struggling to find or pay for housing, you are not alone.
The 211 Call Center and database helps connect you to: Utility Assistance, Rent Assistance, Food Pantries, Shelter and Housing Services, Transportation, Legal Services, Health Care, Financial Assistance and Education and More!
211 is available 24/7 by phone or text and your call is free and confidential. Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898211 to get in touch with a helpline specialist today.
Blair Tech Campus for Youth
There is a place for you in Blair, Nebraska!
The Blair Tech Campus is a 151-acre campus and community where all the focus is on the success of young people - just like you - and building a safe community. This community is located on a former college campus in Blair, Nebraska (about 20 minutes from Omaha) and includes apartment living spaces and shared use facilities (gym, church, library, classrooms, etc.). Young people reside in the community together and are supported by an ambassador – a member of the Blair community – to help you transition into your new community and feel connected to all it has to offer.
Eligible young people are ages 18-26 who are willing to live and work in the Blair community, maintain employment and/or are pursuing education or career training. You may apply for this unique program at the website here.