Many Homeless Youth Are Not Just Adventuring. Give Them Shelter

A young girl sits against a lamp post, a sign across her knees which begins
I have no excuse photo by D.C.Atty is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yup. Some youth are happily homeless, backpacking towards adulthood, one friendly host-with-a-couch at a time.

For a great many, however, homelessness is an uninvited nightmare. The young person may have aged out of care: foster parents no longer paid to support them. Their own parents may have rejected them — a common enough experience for LGBTQ2S children. They may suffer from the same kinds of emotional, health or drug torments that keep adults on the street.

These homeless youth need shelter and support, and at the moment, the U.S authorities are failing them.

It wasn’t always the case. The start of the linked article below introduces a young woman experiencing homelessness who was lucky enough to access a two year support program that provided shelter and allowed her to complete school. An evaluation of similar transitional programs that support young people aging out of care found that three-quarters of the participants moved into stable housing.

Unfortunately, funding has dried up for these medium term programs that have been successful “runways” from homelessness into homes1. Instead, the funding has been used to meet budget cutting obligations, or shifted to support short term emergency programs and long term permanent housing2.

Read more about the importance of medium-term housing programs in the following article from Reuters.

Note: The following article, presumably made available to subscribers to the Reuters News Agency, contains notes to editors in its title and first few lines. So far, media agencies that have picked up this story have failed to decipher the scope or intent of these notes, so the articles open reading as gobbledygook. We are offering the Reuters version of the story, with complete notes. They should be skipped. The article begins with the dateline: WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation). 

Read more here: ‘Runway’ to stability: U.S. urged to boost housing for homeless youth


  1. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began to wind down such programs in 2012, citing research that the transitional supports were expensive and didn’t affect outcomes for youth aging out of care one way or the other.
  2. Youth are not the only people affected by HUD’s funding cuts. For some examples, try: Is Coordinated Entry To Homelessness Services Possible?

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