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Announcements , Homelessness , Reports and Publications

Data Project Sheds More Light on Needs of Homeless Youth

12 November 2014
Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

As part of an effort to better understand the needs of youth experiencing homelessness, the Administration for Children and Families has released the executive summary with findings from the agency’s Street Outreach Program (SOP) Data Collection Project. The executive summary provides insights garnered through interviews with 656 street youth who agreed to participate in the project. 

Data was collected on demographics, homelessness experience, sexual health, behavioral and emotional health, victimization and service need:

  • Youth disproportionately identified as transgender, compared to a national sample.
  • 35% of youth identified as LGBTQ.
  • On average youth had been homeless for a total of 2 years across their lifetime.
  • 24% of youth had exchanged sex for money and 28% of youth had exchanged sex for housing.
  • 61% of these youth have experienced victimization (i.e., physical or sexual assault, rape, robbed).
  • Youth reported high prevalence of drug and alcohol use during the past 12 months (73% used alcohol, 65% used marijuana, 38% used hard drugs).
  • Over half of the participants reported not accessing shelter because it was full or they did not know where to go.

The executive summary also includes several recommendations for addressing the needs of youth experiencing homelessness, falling into the following categories:

  • Need for more shelter
  • Intensive case management
  • Targeted supportive services and interventions
  • Core outcomes and pathways

Given the dearth of information about youth experiencing homelessness and how their needs can effectively be addressed, the executive summary also identifies future research needs. 

Click here to read the executive summary.