• September 2012
  • Vol. 13, No. 8

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Housing for Newly Independent Youth

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, recently published a literature review on housing needs and outcomes common among youth who age out of foster care. These youth face unique housing challenges; they often quickly transition from being dependents of the State to being independent young adults. Because of these fast transitions, many have difficulties finding and maintaining suitable housing, and they often have little to no support from family members or the State. The review gives a detailed summary of the issue and focuses on programmatic initiatives geared toward tackling the problem.

The literature review examines various characteristics of young adults aging out of foster care. It also examines the rate of homelessness among these youth, which the reviewed studies estimated to be between 11 and 36 percent. The review also discusses obstacles that youth must overcome in securing housing, including personal (e.g., inadequate income), systemic (e.g., lack of preparation for independent living), and housing market (e.g., lack of affordable housing) challenges. Additionally, the document examines Federal and State policies related to youth homelessness but notes that these policies appear to fall short of meeting the needs of this population. 

A substantial portion of the review is devoted to describing the range of existing housing programs developed for youth aging out of care. An environmental scan yielded 58 unique programs, and the authors synthesized the components of these programs in order to create a picture of the existing landscape in the field. Findings from the scan and synthesis show that housing programs for this population vary along several key dimensions, including the housing model on which they are based, the level of supervision provided, and the availability of onsite supports. Finally, the review identifies a small number of innovative programs that may warrant closer examination in terms of their effectiveness.

The full report, Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: A Review of the Literature and Program Typology, is available through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's website:

http://www.huduser.org/publications/pdf/HousingFosterCare_LiteratureReview_0412_v2.pdf (1,016 KB)

Related Item

See "Chafee Housing Funds for Youth" in this issue.

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