Youth are Turned Away from HHS Funded Homeless Youth Services Due to Inadequate Resources
According to data collected by HHS’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Management Information System (RHYMIS)1:
- In FY 2013, 6,982 youth were turned away from shelters and transitional housing programs due to the lack of available beds.
- In FY 2012, over 8,106 youth were turned away from shelters and transitional housing due to the lack of available beds.
- From FY 2010 to FY 2014, 14,855 youth were turned away from Basic Center Programs.
- From FY 2010 to FY 2014, 24,488 youth were turned away from Transitional Living Programs.
In 2013 the University of Nebraska-Lincoln conducted the Street Outreach Program Data Collection Project, funded by HHS’s Family and Youth Services Bureau. 656 young people who were experiencing homelessness were interviewed for this project. The top barrier to shelter identified by these young people was that the shelter was full.
Voices of Youth Count estimates that 3.5 million young adults face homelessness every year. However, resources from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Housing and Urban Development only serve around 21,000-50,000 youth annually in regard to short-term and long-term housing. This results in a significant number of homeless youth who lack access to resources.
Many Communities Want to Serve Homeless Youth, but Have No Support for Services
Our greatest challenge to ending youth homelessness is the lack of resources to ‘go to scale’ with effective programming.
The number of communities and organizations that acknowledge the need to provide appropriate services and interventions for runaway and homeless youth and their families, far surpasses the current available federal resources. In FY 2013:
- 223 applications were submitted for a RHYA street outreach program grant and only 50 grants were awarded.
- 223 applications were submitted for a RHYA transitional living program grant and only 101 grants were awarded.
- 185 applications were submitted for a RHYA basic center program grant and only 97 grants were awarded.
Fewer Than One in Five School Districts are Touched by McKinney-Vento Funding
- The number of homeless students identified by public schools soared to over 1.2 million homeless students identified in the 2012-2013 school year, increasing 85% since the start of the recession. Yet funding for the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth program has remained flat at roughly $65 million. These funds touch only 22% of school districts.2