Panel: New Approaches to Understanding Youth Homelessness
(Family and Child Policy)

Saturday, November 4, 2017: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Stetson G (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Jessica A Raithel, New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services
Panel Chairs:  Maryanne Schretzman, New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services
Discussants:  Paul Hamann, The Night Ministry and Dennis Culhane, University of Pennsylvania

Housing Trajectories of Transition-Age Youth
Jessica A Raithel1, Maryanne Schretzman1, Eileen Johns1, Nebahat Noyan1, Andy Martens1, Jacob Berman1, Dana Laventure1, Erin Burns-Maine2 and Kristin Miller2, (1)New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services, (2)CSH

National Prevalence, Characteristics, and Correlates of Youth Homelessness in the US
Matthew Morton1, Amy Dworsky1, David Schlueter1, Susanna Curry1 and Jennifer Matjasko2, (1)University of Chicago, (2)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Stability in youths’ lives is critical for youth to thrive and successfully transition to adulthood. Unfortunately, many youth experience homelessness and housing instability at some point during their young adulthood, stemming from a variety of causes. Understanding the scope and experiences of youth homelessness is essential to improving programs and policies for this population and addressing their specific needs.  Understanding the characteristics of homeless and unstably housed youth is also important to tailor services to meet the specific needs of youth. Basic demographics, such as gender, age, and sexual orientation can have important implications for the types of additional programming that should be developed or policies that should be implemented or redesigned. Information about a youth’s history of homelessness, including the types of places stayed and the length of time homeless, can also be enormously helpful in establishing methods of prevention and intervention points for services.

The papers included on this panel each take a different approach to understanding youth homelessness. The first paper uses administrative data from multiple city agencies to understand the patterns of service use among youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It also explores risk and protective factors for subsequent stays in homeless shelters and/or jail. The second paper describes the results of the first national survey on youth homelessness. The survey measured the prevalence and incidence of youth homelessness and housing instability, as well as the characteristics of youth homelessness and housing instability and factors associated with youth homelessness. The final paper analyzes qualitative data from focus groups to complete a community-based youth of color needs assessment to identify and clarify the experiences, strengths and needs of homeless youth. The study merges this data with administrative data to provide comprehensive recommendations to better serve these youth. All three papers have a particular focus on translating their findings into actionable recommendations for policy and practice.

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