Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago recently released Challenges and opportunities in addressing rural youth homelessness: Stakeholder Focus Group Findings, highlighting key findings of a qualitative study examining challenges and strategies for identifying, preventing, and ending youth homelessness in rural areas. This is an addendum report to Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in Rural America report, which outlined the prevalence of youth homelessness in rural and urban areas.
This study consisted of seven 90-minute virtual focus groups of national and state rural stakeholders, young adults with lived experience, and nonprofit and government agencies that provide services to youth and young adults.
According to the report:
- Youth experiencing homelessness in rural areas are undercounted.
- There is a lack of awareness of federally funded resources available to students and school officials (such as McKinney-Vento homelessness liaisons).
- There are insufficient resources to provide services, leading to informal support services/network structures.
- Youth reported encountering racism while trying to access rural public services.
- The regions’ geographic and technology and lack of funding, poses a barrier to creating authentic youth partnership.
The authors outlined a list of recommendations that rural communities can implement to address youth homelessness, such as:
- Creatively working with public systems and community-based organizations to count and estimate rural youth homelessness by implementing universal screening, administrative data match, and surveys.
- Providing flexible funding to coordinate services and supports and passing state laws to allow unaccompanied minors to consent to their shelter.
- Funding strategies approach dismantling systemic racism in accessing rural public systems and services and better measuring equity and inclusion.
This report was produced for the National Network for Youth and written by Erin D. Carreon, Jonathan Brodie, and Matthew H. Morton at Chapin Hall.
The link to the report can be accessed here: https://www.chapinhall.org/wp-content/uploads/Rural-Youth-Homelessness-Report.pdf