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Youth Who Experience Prolonged Homelessness Research Briefs (HHS)

These briefs from HHS aims to summarize factors associated with prolonged episodes of homelessness among youth so that organizations can use their resources more efficiently to reduce and end prolonged youth homelessness.

  • Factors Associated with Prolonged Youth Homelessness. Youth who experience prolonged homelessness also face greater challenges than many of their peers; greater involvement with the child welfare and criminal justice systems; histories of child maltreatment; higher rates of substance use and mental health challenges; higher rates of dropping out of school; higher rates of unemployment and informal work; and unstable housing and living situations. Significant additional research is needed on this population, including whether the factors identified help cause, or result from, prolonged homelessness among youth.
  • Serious Mental Illness and Prolonged Youth Homelessness. Not much is known about the relationship between serious mental illness and prolonged youth homelessness. However, this brief concludes that:
    • Mental health disorders among youth can increase the risk for homelessness;
    • The more time youth spend on the streets, the greater their likelihood of mental health disorders;
    • Early interventions for youth with mental health issues may help prevent and address prolonged homelessness among young people;
    • Significant additional research is needed on this topic, including the extent to which serious mental illness may help lead to prolonged experiences of homelessness among youth, or vice versa.
  • Interventions for Addressing Prolonged Youth Homelessness found that supportive housing for youth, social enterprise interventions, functional family therapy, and early interventions for mental health such as Coordinated Specialty Care programs hold promise for youth experiencing prolonged homelessness.