Voices of Youth Count

Understanding and ending youth homelessness

Voices of Youth Count is a national Chapin Hall initiative to bring actionable evidence to prevent and end youth homelessness. From 2015 through 2017, Chapin Hall conducted the most comprehensive examination to date of youth homelessness, incorporating youth voices to develop achievable solutions. Since the Fall of 2017, Chapin Hall has published four seminal reports on youth experiencing homelessness.

Voices of Youth Count examines:

  • The size and characteristics of the runaway and homeless youth population
  • The reasons youth become homeless
  • The services and strategies they use to survive
  • The roles of federal policies and programs in enabling communities and service providers to address their needs

The project’s first report—Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America—revealed that one in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 and at least one in 30 adolescents between age ages of 13 and 17 experience some form of homelessness over the course of a year. (See the November 15, 2017 press release.) The project’s second brief, LGBTQ Youth Homelessness in America, found that LGBTQ youth experienced homelessness at more than twice the rate as their peers, and that they were more likely to experience adversities both before and during homelessness. (See April 25, 2018 press release.) The project’s third brief, Pregnant and Parenting Youth Experiencing Homelessness in America, estimates that as many as 1.1 million children have a young parent who experienced homelessness during the past year. (See May 10, 2018 press release.) The fourth report provides practical tips on conducting point-in-time youth homelessness counts, based on Chapin Hall’s experience conducting these counts in 22 representative communities across the United States. See Counting Youth Experiencing Homelessness in America.

Additional research-to-impact briefs will be released throughout 2018. These reports will include a focus on rural homelessness and the frequency of homelessness among youth who have been in the child welfare system.  Through more than 200 in-depth interviews with youth, we will also look more closely at youth trajectories into homelessness, and the intersection with systems, including child welfare, education and juvenile justice. All of this work is designed to provide evidence to service providers, policy makers, advocates and funders who are working to prevent and end youth homelessness.

The work is led by Dr. Matthew Morton, an expert in both research and policy in community development and youth homelessness. Chapin Hall Research Fellow Dr. Amy Dworsky also brings her considerable experience in foster youth research to the Voices work. For more information about Voices of Youth Count, please visit our website or contact us at voyc@chapinhall.org.