In the work to prevent and end youth homelessness, stakeholders agree it requires safe and stable housing alongside permanent connections , education and/or employment , and an overall sense of well-being to succeed and thrive—and to make sure youth and young adults never experience homelessness again. Indeed, to receive federal funding through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act or the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, community-based grantees must measure and report on outcomes in these core areas that are reflected in the Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness . However, as I pointed out last year , there has been limited federal guidance on how this should be done. What to measure—and how to measure it—has been a glaring gap.
In response, Youth Collaboratory and Chapin Hall partnered with federal agencies, researchers, practitioners, and philanthropists to lead an inclusive, large-scale, multi-phase effort to respond to this need. The Youth Outcomes Project promotes consensus and produces common, reliable, and valid outcome measures that can be consistently applied across an array of youth-serving programs. Through an extensive literature review, as well as a series of expert consultations and surveys with youth and other key stakeholders, this effort generated a new resource, “ Measuring up: Youth-Level outcomes and Measures for System Responses to Youth Homelessness ”
For each core outcome area, the report provides:
- A brief context on the importance of the outcome area and recommendations on key outcomes to be tracked consistently across communities as part of system-level efforts to end youth homelessness,
- The best available core measures for each outcome as well as suggested options and resources for communities and programs that want to “go further” in youth outcomes measurement for each domain.
This report also provides additional considerations for outcome measurement and tracking based on the wisdom provided by consultation groups from the field. Their insights speak to the difficulties, unique local needs, and challenges communities can consider, as well as reinforce the collective value and importance of all of us doing this work together.
This is a starting point rather than an endpoint.
This initiative provides a set of metrics for communities that can help facilitate consistent data collection related to core outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness across programs and organizations, regardless of their funding source. Collectively the field will continue to improve the experience, evidence, and tools for youth outcomes measurement. Recordings of recently released webinars will be posted on the initiative’s webpage , along with resources to support programs and systems as they integrate these measures. We encourage you to read the report and share what you learn with your partners.