1 in 10 Young Adults, 1 in 30 Kids Experience Homelessness Each Year

New Brief Calls Attention to Reality Affecting More Than 3 Million Young People

Posted March 8, 2023
A young Black woman sits in a class room, pen in hand, in the midst of writing in a notebook. She confidently smiles at the camera.

Accord­ing to a research brief released today by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, 1 in 10 young adults (ages 18 to 25) and 1 in 30 chil­dren face home­less­ness over the course of a giv­en year in the Unit­ed States.

LGBTQ, Black and His­pan­ic youth and young adults are at greater risk for expe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness, the Foun­da­tion reports in Pre­vent­ing and End­ing Youth Home­less­ness in Amer­i­ca.” This brief is the first in a series high­light­ing chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties fac­ing old­er youth and young adults as part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Thrive by 25® efforts, a set of invest­ments focused on pro­mot­ing basic needs, per­ma­nent con­nec­tions, edu­ca­tion and cre­den­tials, finan­cial sta­bil­i­ty and youth lead­er­ship for young people.

Down­load Pre­vent­ing and End­ing Youth Home­less­ness in America”

End­ing youth home­less­ness is pos­si­ble,” says Scot Spencer, the Casey Foundation’s asso­ciate direc­tor of local pol­i­cy. We are releas­ing this brief to bring more atten­tion to a cri­sis for mil­lions of young peo­ple in Amer­i­ca. The bet­ter we under­stand the scope of the cri­sis, the more effec­tive our lead­ers can be in address­ing it. These num­bers reflect an urgent need for action.”

The brief notes that the lack of a uni­fied def­i­n­i­tion of home­less­ness ham­pers data col­lec­tion and shar­ing, but the extent of the issue is made clear by sev­er­al statistics:

  • Some 3.5 mil­lion young adults ages 18 to 25 and 700,000 youth ages 13 to 17 expe­ri­ence some form of home­less­ness — whether sleep­ing on the streets or in shel­ters or couch surf­ing” — in a giv­en year.
  • U.S. pub­lic schools enrolled near­ly 1.1 mil­lion stu­dents who were expe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness in grades pre‑K through 12 dur­ing the 202021 school year.
  • LGBTQ youth have a 120% greater risk of home­less­ness than oth­er youth, Black youth are at an 83% high­er risk and non­white His­pan­ic youth have a 33% greater risk.

Youth expe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness on their own are more like­ly than peers to endure threats to their health, safe­ty and well-being — from miss­ing school and strug­gling with men­tal health issues to being assault­ed, traf­ficked for sex or labor or resort­ing to crime for survival.

The Casey Foun­da­tion, a Bal­ti­more-based, nation­al foun­da­tion ded­i­cat­ed to ensur­ing a brighter future for America’s chil­dren, youth and fam­i­lies, has made eight rec­om­men­da­tions for pol­i­cy­mak­ers in the brief. They include tar­get­ing fund­ing to meet basic needs, ele­vat­ing youth voice and adding sup­ports for youth involved in the child wel­fare and juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems.

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