A groundbreaking study released Nov. 15 by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago reveals one in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, and at least one in 30 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, experience some form of homelessness over the course of a year.
This study captures youth homelessness broadly, including situations such as sleeping on the streets, in shelters, running away and couch surfing. “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America” demonstrates the diverse circumstances of young people who experience homelessness, identifies who is most at risk and illuminates a nationwide problem cutting across rural and urban areas alike.
“We have a collective obligation to ensure all young people have a chance to succeed, starting from a young age,” said Bryan Samuels, executive director of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. “Intervening and building stability during adolescence and young adulthood for those at highest risk will have lifelong effects. As a country, we can look for the missed opportunities in schools, communities and public services to prevent youth homelessness.”
Chapin Hall’s national survey of 26,161 people offers new insight into the scope and urgency of youth homelessness in America, providing data to inform policy. The study found that that certain populations—specifically, African-American and Hispanic youths; young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; young parents; and those who have not completed high school—are statistically more likely to experience homelessness than their peers. The study also shows that young people living in rural and urban communities experience homelessness at similar rates.