A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

Youth Homelessness

Homelessness is more than a lack of a place to sleep tonight. For a young person, it means instability, fear, and often an inability to properly learn and prepare for adulthood. Increasingly, people who work with vulnerable youth are realizing that the lack of a safe and stable home makes it difficult for any other youth-focused program to be successful.

Over the past decade, we have made significant progress is ending and preventing homelessness among adult populations.  We have seen reductions in chronic and veteran homeless populations and some promising results around solutions to family homelessness.  In many instances, philanthropy has been a catalyst for change at the local and national levels.

In 2015, recognizing funders essential role, and the need for more learning and sharing around youth homelessness, Funders Together launched a two-year community of practice focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness. This community, Foundations for Youth Success (FYS) brought together philanthropic leaders – large national funders as well as those working at the community level – in a community of practice focused on funders’ role in identifying best practices and implementing effective solutions for our young people. Throughout this two-year initiative, members participated in regular virtual meetings and came together in person twice per year.

This page contains learnings and resources from that community and will be updated as additional materials are finalized. 


Foundations for Youth Success Blogs

Redefining “Community-wide” Responses to Youth Homelessness

Facilitating Systems Change to End Youth Homelessness: Foundations for Youth Success Minnesota Convening Takeaways (Part 1)

Facilitating Systems Change to End Youth Homelessness: Foundations for Youth Success Minnesota Convening Takeaways (Part 2)

Ending Youth Homelessness: What Funders Need To Know

View all blog posts on youth homelessness


From Our Members

Raikes Foundation's Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Strategy

Since 2011, preventing and ending youth homelessness in King County has been one of the Raikes Foundation’s three core grantmaking strategies. Learn more about their approach in this resource.

Raikes Foundation / Building Changes - Priority Action Steps to Prevent and End Youth/Young Adult Homelessness: An Implementation Plan (2012)

Campion Foundation's Journey to Advocacy

Campion Foundation is guided by the belief that public policy work can have far more significant impact than we could ever do with foundation dollars. Learn more about their journey to advocacy in this resource.

LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Funder Briefing [Video]

In 2014, The Simmons Foundation hosted a Google Hangout for funders interested in ending LGBTQ youth homelessness.

The Simmons Foundation invited national funders to share why they got involved in LGBTQ youth homelessness, how they got board buy-in, and what risks they were willing to take. 

The video also features a formerly homeless young person who shares his experience with homelessness in Houston and what supports he wished had been offered to him.


Data and Solutions Resources

Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness

The 2012 Amendment to Opening Doors, which includes the Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness, was developed to specifically address what strategies should be implemented to improve the educational outcomes for children and youth, and the steps that need to be taken to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020.

The Cost of Homelessness

Foldes Consulting, LLC, studied the economic burden of youth homelessness in Minnesota, focusing on the short- and long-term costs to taxpayers and society. The study examined comprehensive costs of more than 1,400 16-to-24 year olds who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless who visited YouthLink in 2011. The study found that all annual and support costs for the entire group can be covered if 89 youth (only 6.1% of the total young people in the study) were to earn enough so that they no longer need any public support, beginning at age 20.

A Way Home America Transition Plan- Actions and Strategies to End Youth Homelessness

As we anticipate the transition of the next presidential administration and new congress we are aiming to communicate in a common voice how to make progress on our goal of ending youth homelessness. To this end, over the spring and summer, the A Way Home America (AWHA) Policy Committee composed a Transition Plan – a document that identifies actions and strategies necessary to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness.  The National Youth Forum on Homelessness offered their input during drafting, input which is incorporated in the final document.  The AWHA Steering Committee endorsed this document in July.

The Transition Plan is intended to inform the next Presidential Administration, federal appointees, and members of congress on our collective goals to end youth and young adult homelessness. 

Housing First for Youth

Housing First is recognized as an effective and humane approach to ending homelessness. This document looks at how can it work to support young people who experience, or are at risk of, homelessness.

Other Resources

The Age Structure of Contemporary Homelessness: Evidence and Implications for Public Policy

The Age Structure of Contemporary Homelessness: Risk Period or Cohort Effect?

An Emerging Framework for Ending Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness

Costs Associated with First-time Homelessness

Drugs, Homelessness, and Health: Homeless Youth Speak Out About Harm Reduction

Employment Needs of Foster Youth in Illinois: Findings from a Midwest Study

Ending Homelessness After Foster Care: Conference Report

Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grantees

Los Angeles Convening on Youth Homelessness: Progress, Gaps, Opportunities, and Challenges

National Alliance to End Homelessness Resources on Youth Homelessness

National Network for Youth's Comprehensive Framework to End Youth Homelessness

On the Lifetime Prevalence of Running Away from Home

True Youth Count Toolkit

US Interagency Council on Homelessness's Framework to End Youth Homelessness


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We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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