Young people experiencing homelessness make up 20% of the homeless population in Canada (Gaetz, Gulliver, & Richter, 2014). Recent data on the prevalence of youth homelessness in Canada includes the first pan-Canadian study of young people experiencing homelessness, Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey, which involved 1,103 respondents from 47 communities across 10 provinces and territories (Gaetz, O’Grady, Kidd, & Schwan, 2016). Over the course of one year, approximately 40,000 young people experience homelessness in Canada, and between 6,000 and 7,000 do so on any given night (Gaetz et al., 2016). Homelessness among families and dependent children and youth has recently been cited as an invisible and growing problem across Canada (Gulliver-Garcia, 2016).
Accurate data on the prevalence of youth homelessness in the United States (U.S.) are lacking, due to challenges collecting this data and inconsistent definitions of youth homelessness (Anthony & Fisher, 2016). The U.S. annual Point-in-Time (PiT) count identified 180,760 children and youth under the age of 25 experiencing homelessness in January 2015 (Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2015). Almost one-quarter of those were unaccompanied young people under the age of 25 (Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2015).