Not all young people have the benefit of growing up in a safe and stable home. In fact: Across America, 1 in 30 youth between the ages of 13 to 24 and 1 in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 will experience homelessness over the course of a year. This scenario — which occurs during an important developmental period — can inject trauma into a young person’s life, limit their growth and carry costly community consequences.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Youth Homelessness
In recognition of these challenges, the Annie E. Casey Foundation is joining partners in the field, such as Funders Together to End Homelessness, to ensure that young people have safe, stable housing access to meaningful educational and economic opportunities.
This brief, released by the Foundation, shares facts about youth homelessness in America. It also reviews the nation’s current response to youth homelessness, the risks that young people face when homeless, and what leaders can be doing to prevent and end housing instability among young people today.
Funding, Policy and Practice Recommendations on Youth Homelessness
To ensure that all young people have a safe and stable place to live and the resources needed to thrive and grow into adulthood, the Foundation makes the following recommendations:
develop a unified definition of youth homelessness;
focus on prevention;
target funding to basic needs and other youth homelessness risks;
support cross-systems partnerships;
elevate youth voices;
transform the justice system response; and
help young people leaving foster care prepare for adulthood.
About the Thrive by 25 Series
The document kicks off a series devoted to highlighting both the challenges and opportunities facing youth ages 14 through 24. It is also part of the Casey Foundation’s Thrive by 25® efforts, which are a set of investments focused on promoting basic needs, permanent connections, education and credentials, financial stability and youth leadership for young people.
Unstable, unsafe housing situations sets youth on a pathway to greater trauma, risk and instability
Findings & Stats
Millions of Youth Affected
About 3.5 million young adults ages 18 to 25 and 700,000 youth ages 13 to 17 experience some form of homelessness in a given year, according to Chapin Hall, an independent, nonpartisan policy research center at the University of Chicago.
The Risk of Homelessness Varies
Not all young people experience homeliness at the same rate. Youth who are Black (83% higher), LGBTQ (120% higher) and non-white Hispanic (33% higher) all experience greater rates of homelessness.
Wanted: A Unified Definition of Homelessness
Establishing a unified and inclusive definition of youth homelessness is key. Such work makes data collection, sharing and analysis easier across systems and also helps to improve how quickly and effectively these systems can identify and support youth in need.
Statements & Quotations
Because of differing definitions of homelessness and research methodologies, no single data source paints a complete picture of youth homelessness within the United States.
A youth homelessness response focused almost exclusively on crisis intervention results in missed opportunities to prevent homelessness and its compounding harmful effects for millions of young people each year.
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