Chapin Hall Researchers Release Report on Youth Homelessness in the U.S.

Date Published: 
October 10th, 2019

Building off his presentation to 2018 Housing Is Summit attendees, researcher Matthew Morton from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago has released a new policy paper with the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The report discusses federal policy implications for findings of Voices of Youth Count (VoYC), the most comprehensive research initiative to-date on youth homelessness in the U.S. Morton and his team hope the policy paper, Federal Actions toward Preventing & Ending Youth Homelessness: Recommendations Based on Research and a National Convening of Experts and Stakeholders, will provide guidance for the administration and Congress.

The paper outlines 63 recommendations for federal action across five major findings for prevention, four major findings for crisis response, and two major findings for stable housing:


  • Family instability and conflict are common precursors to youth instability and homelessness
  • The experience of youth coming out as LGBTQ can increase risk for homelessness
  • Youth with low levels of educational attainment have higher risk for homelessness
  • Histories of foster care are common among youth experiencing homelessness
  • Histories of justice system involvement are common among youth experiencing homelessness

Crisis Response

  • Youth have to rely on limited and fragmented sources of information
  • Rural youth homelessness is just as prevalent as urban youth homelessness
  • There are significant intersections between youth and family homelessness, yet scarce resources available
  • Many youth experiencing homelessness are enrolled in post-secondary education

Stable Housing

  • Youth struggle to access affordable housing options for long-term housing stability
  • Youth experiencing homelessness need a career track

Recommendations include many cross-sector suggestions that Housing Is also promotes, such as increasing collaboration between Congress and federal agencies to develop  interventions that strengthen families, modifying or clarifying federal policy on data sharing, increasing cross-agency support for the development and evaluation of housing models for postsecondary students, and more funds for interventions and research.

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