Youth and young adults (YYA) are defined by a complex and critical stage of personal growth. Unfortunately, YYA experiencing homelessness lack safety, stability and other basic life needs. Moreover, many of these individuals are unable to access systems, services and resources designed to support healthy development.
For these reasons, YYA experiencing homelessness require a combination of developmentally-appropriate housing and service options. At the systematic level, this approach depends on close collaboration between government agencies, philanthropists and community-based organizations.
To address both the causes and consequences of a national epidemic, our proposed system includes a full range of developmentally-appropriate service and housing options for youth and their families. It empowers YYA to lead fuller, healthier lives. Within this system, youth experiencing homelessness will spend less time worrying about basic needs and more time pursuing education and healthy interpersonal relationships. Collectively, our recommendations provide multiple opportunities for youth to undergo safe and healthy transitions to adulthood.
Although necessarily comprehensive, the Proposed System is still flexible in several ways.
- It is designed to accommodate all YYA, regardless of how many times or where they enter or exit the system. Policies and outcome measures should be structured to welcome youth back whatever programs they need, whenever they seek assistance.
- It is envisioned only as a source of general guidance. Local leaders are encouraged to prioritize service and housing recommendations in whichever order befits their community. Likewise, communities should implement a system that responds to local needs and is compatible with population dynamics.
- It is intended and expected to evolve over time. Although the current version has been reviewed by providers and other experts, we welcome additional feedback. As new research and data becomes available, NN4Y will update our resource accordingly.
To leave comments or suggestions, please use the “Share your Thoughts” feature located to the right.