Young adults (ages 18-24) are especially vulnerable to homelessness. The estimated numbers of young adults who experience an episode of homelessness each year range from approximately 750,000 to 2 million, and are believed to be increasing; families as well as individuals are affected. To articulate and address some of the urgent issues facing these young adults, six seasoned clinicians and researchers working with displaced youth across the United States collaborated with staff from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council in developing this report. A recurring theme from these collaborative discussions is that individuals in the young adult/late adolescent phase of life present a unique and promising opportunity to prevent or arrest homelessness through early and comprehensive health and social service interventions.
This report is organized around four main topics: health care, housing, education and employment, and social support. Following a brief description of service access barriers faced within each of these topics is a list of recommended short-and long-term strategies for overcoming them. In general, the safety net of services for individuals in need is geared towards adults, so many of the strategies presented offer methods for customizing existing services for younger individuals who may lack the life experience and resources adults commonly have.