Though definitive numbers are scarce, the Alliance estimates that there are 50,000 youth sleeping on the streets in the United States.

While data documenting the breadth and depth of homelessness among youth is rare, what is known is that homeless youth and young adults are at great risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health disabilities, chemical or alcohol dependency, and death.

Given the diverse pathways to homelessness for unaccompanied youth and their special, developmental needs, youth require a specialized solution to their homelessness. Among the most important strategies are:

  • early intervention services and family reunification efforts;
  • increased housing options for youth; and
  • transitional programs for youth aging out of the foster care and juvenile detention systems.

The Alliance focuses its efforts on preventing and ending homelessness around several key pieces of current and proposed legislation:

  • Runaway and Homeless Youth Act;
  • Education for Homeless Children and Youth Act;
  • Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act;
  • Chafee Foster Care Independence Programs; and
  • Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.


Library Resources

Federal Policy Brief | January 18, 2012
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a final regulation to implement changes to the definition of homelessness contained in the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act. The new definition is outlined here.
Federal Policy Brief | December 1, 2011
This document contains various charts showing Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) utilization, statistics, and efficiency.
Fact Sheets | November 4, 2010
This resource describes the "point-in-time counts" - the regular count of people experiencing homelessness. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to submit these counts as part of their application for federal homeless assistance funds.
Webinar | November 4, 2010
This webinar, the first in a series from the Alliance and the National Network for Youth, will feature tips for including youth in your community's point-in-time count.
Webinar | October 27, 2010
Ending Youth Homelessness - Strategies for Increasing Community Support and Improving Your Ten Year Plan.
Toolkits | October 20, 2010
The Alliance and the National Network for Youth recommend that communities fully include homeless youth in their local January 2011 Point in Time (PIT) counts by using the strategies in this brief.
Advocacy Resource | June 8, 2010
\| Youth experiencing homelessness require specialized care but few states offer the resources required to serve this vulnerable population. The Alliance provides two sample legislative texts for local advocates to propose to state legislators.
Federal Policy Brief | April 26, 2010
This issue brief outlines changes in appropriations and authorization language for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance program and focuses on how these changes may benefit homeless youth. Changes in program eligibility will allow agencies to offer housing, rapid re-housing, and services designed to facilitate family reunification and prevent youth from running away.
Fact Sheets | January 19, 2010
The issue of youth homelessness has gained some traction lately, in both the news and among community activists. This fact sheets goes over what is and isn't known about youth homelessness, including data, relevant issues, and possible solutions.
Federal Policy Brief | June 15, 2009
This report by the National Foster Care Coalition is entitled "Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act: Frequently Asked Questions on the Provisions Designed to Impact Youth and Young Adults." It reviews numerous common questions, including those around the extension of foster care to age 21, which was included in the Act.