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.

The link below connects to learnings and resources from Foundations for Youth Success and will be updated as additional materials are finalized. 

To join Foundations for Youth Success participants and other funders in continued learning, join FTEH's new Youth Network! Email Tabitha Blackwell at [email protected] to learn more.



Resource: Funders Role in Ending 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.

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

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 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.


Featured Members Working on Youth Homelessness


Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland- The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland works to improve the lives of those most in need with special attention to families, women and children living in poverty. The foundation works to end homelessness in Cuyahoga County and to reduce health disparities and improve educational opportunities in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood. We spoke with Rebecca Gallant, director of communications for the Sisters of Charity Health System, about the Foundation's youth homelessness and affordable housing work and the important role philanthropy has in convening around homelessness.

Miami Homes for All- Miami Homes For All (formerly Miami Coalition for the Homeless) promotes community collaboration to prevent and end homelessness in South Florida through advocacy and philanthropy. Their work concentrates on advocacy, prevention, and informational services to enhance already existing community efforts and fill identifiable gaps. 

We spoke with Bobbie Ibarra, Executive Director of Miami Homes For All about the organization's rebranding, its focus on housing, and successful advocacy efforts and their work around youth homelessness.


Data and Solutions Resources


Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness
February 01, 2013, USICH

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.

Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness: A Coordinated Community Response
September 18, 2015

This document, from USICH, provides a preliminary vision for a coordinated response to ending youth homelessness.

Criteria and Benchmarks for Achieving the Goal of Ending Youth Homelessness
January 13, 2017

Collaboratively with communities across America, USICH and federal partners developed a national vision for what it means to end homelessness, ensuring it is rare, brief, and non-recurring. The Criteria and Benchmarks for Achieving the Goal of Ending Youth Homelessness ensure all communities are working towards that goal. 

The Cost of Homelessness
2015, Foldes Consulting, LLC

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
2016, A Way Home America

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
January 2013, University of Pennsylvania

The Age Structure of Contemporary Homelessness: Risk Period or Cohort Effect?
June 2010, University of Pennsylvania

An Emerging Framework for Ending Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness
National Alliance to End Homelessness

National Network for Youth's Comprehensive Framework to End Youth Homelessness
July 2013, National Network for Youth

Costs Associated with First-time Homelessness
March 2010, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Addressing the Intersections of Juvenile Justice Involvement and Youth Homelessness: Principles for Change

Drugs, Homelessness, and Health: Homeless Youth Speak Out About Harm Reduction
2010, The Shout Clinic Harm Reduction Report

Employment Needs of Foster Youth in Illinois: Findings from a Midwest Study
2010, Chapin Hall

Ending Homelessness After Foster Care: Conference Report
October 2009, Common Ground

Identifying and Serving LGBTQ Youth: Case Studies of Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Grantees
February 2014, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Los Angeles Convening on Youth Homelessness: Progress, Gaps, Opportunities, and Challenges
February 8, 2012, The National Alliance to End Homelessness / The California Homeless Youth Project

On the Lifetime Prevalence of Running Away from Home
April 2010, Urban Institute

LGBTQ Homeless Youth Prevention Initiative- Houston Funders Toolkit

Needs Assessments for Homeless Students

National Alliance to End Homelessness Resources on Youth Homelessness
The National Alliance to End Homelessness

True Youth Count Toolkit
True Colors Fund

King County Youth of Color Needs Assessment
The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian, & Gay Survivors of Abuse

Still looking for more information?  Let us know what you're interested in and we'll try to help.


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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