In 2010, the most recent annual data we have from HUD, there were nearly 170,000 homeless households with children in the nation. We know that a large number of those households are headed by young parents. In fact, the Alliance estimates that over 25 percent of homeless families are headed by a young adult under the age of 25—that’s approximately 50,000 to 60,000 families a year.
Because these families are accessing the homeless services through the adult family system, their needs as developing young adults may not necessarily be noticed or attended to and there may be some solutions to their homelessness that are being overlooked.
We know that the majority of homeless youth return home to family and that family intervention is a strategy that can effectively end homelessness not just for youth under the age of 18, but also for youth over the age of 18. When serving a family headed by a young adult, providers should be attentive to whether or not there is a parent or extended family member that is willing to take in the young parent and their child(ren). This may provide a more stable and supportive living arrangement for a young parent.
For young parents that cannot be reunified with family or a caring adult, rapid re-housing, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing have all proven effective in ending a young parents’ homelessness when properly targeted. The Alliance has created a new page on its website dedicated to young parents. The page provides more detail on what families headed by young parents look like, the interventions that may be appropriate for them, and a number of resources that provide more details on those interventions.