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

Findings on Youth Homelessness Released from Voices of Youth Count

Researchers from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago have released Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America, a summary of findings from their groundbreaking, multi-component study, Voices of Youth Count, on the extent and nature of youth homelessness in America.


Understanding the scope of youth homelessness is critical, as intervening in homelessness and building stability during adolescence will have a lifelong effect.

This nationally-representative study reveals that:

  • 1 in 10 young adults ages 18-25, and at least 1 in 30 adolescents ages 13-17, experience some form of homelessness unaccompanied by a parent or guardian over the course of a year. This translates to 3.5 million young people ages 18-25 and 700,000 adolescent minors.
  • The rates of prevalence of youth homelessness are almost identical in rural and urban communities. Youth homelessness affects all of our communities, whether urban, suburban, or rural, and involves a diversity of experiences.
  • Marginalized youth - including African American, Hispanic, and LGBT youth - are more likely to be homeless.


While youth homelessness is a large and complex problem, the data points to solutions. For example:

  • The diversity of experiences of youth who experience homelessness requires a range of prevention and intervention strategies and speaks to the importance of embedding lived experience.
  • We must work to understand and address structural inequalities (racial and other) that contribute to homelessness.


The Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America research brief and one-page overview are available here. We will continue to share more about this research and its implications, from philanthropy's perspective, over the coming weeks and months.

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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