Missed Opportunities in Youth: Pathways Through Homelessness

Voices of Youth Count. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

The sixth in a series of Research-to-Impact briefs by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago on understanding and addressing youth homelessness.
Across any 12-month period, more than 4.1 million young people ages 13-25 in the U.S. experience some form of homelessness. Why? The nation’s ability to end youth homelessness depends on answering that question. By conducting interviews with 215 youth in five distinct counties across the U.S., we can report their insights into the diverse causes and conditions of housing instability. The findings show that young people experience significant adversity, family disruption, and interpersonal trauma both before and during their homelessness. Factors include, but extend far beyond, each youth’s individual characteristics. This brief uses findings to suggest revisions within the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Authorizing Legislation (RHYA). By centering youth voices, we highlight countless missed opportunities to mobilize and strengthen existing services outlined within the RHYA.