Ending Homelessness for Unaccompanied Minor Youth
This paper, part of a series, emerged from the National Alliance to End Homelessness Practice Knowledge Project with the goal of identifying those approaches most likely to succeed in reducing the number of homeless youth. They identified the following as necessary elements of such a system for unaccompanied minor youth.
- Prevention. The structures that support minor youth – families, schools, caring adults, and communities – can be strengthened and assisted to prevent their homelessness. Child welfare also has an important role to play.
- Crisis and Early Intervention. Communities need enough shelter beds and services to ensure that no unaccompanied minor youth ever spends a night on the streets. Further, crisis programs must have the capacity to connect youth and families to mainstream resources in the community to meet their long-term needs, including those resources that will enable youth to meet their long-term education and employment goals.
- Longer Term Housing and Services. For youth who cannot immediately return home, communities must have a variety of safe, supportive, and developmentally responsive transitional housing options available to ensure that youth under 18 can begin to develop independent living skills, healthy and affirming social connections, and emotional wellbeing. These housing options must have low barriers to entry, and low tolerance for involuntary exits.