National Runaway Safeline

Teachable Tuesday: State Index on Youth Homelessness.

Earlier this year, True Colors Fund and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty released the State Index on Youth Homelessness. This resource provides a snapshot of some of the legal, systemic, and environmental barriers and complex challenges youth experiencing homelessness face across the nation.

Below are a few highlights from the State Index:

 

ALL states have at least some cities that criminally punish youth and young adults for life-sustaining behaviors conducted in public like sleeping.
ALL states have at least some cities that criminally punish youth and young adults for life-sustaining behaviors conducted in public like sleeping.
48 states do not promote safe and inclusive environments in their RHY programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity
48 states do not promote safe and inclusive environments in their RHY programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Only 6 states have regulations that assist youth experiencing homelessness in accessing higher education
Only 6 states have regulations that assist youth experiencing homelessness in accessing higher education
43 states do not address housing needs after a justice-involved youth is discharged.
43 states do not address housing needs after a justice-involved youth is discharged. 

More Highlights:

  • Only 17 states met over half of the Index’s criteria and recommendations
  • Six states failed to meet even 1/3 of the criteria (Alabama, South Carolina, Idaho, Arkansas, Utah, and Wyoming
  • Many states have a lack of appropriate recognition of homeless youth in laws, policies and regulations:
    • 41 states do not have a specific definition of the term “youth”
    • 32 states do not define the term “runaway”
    • 28 states lack explicit definitions of the terms “homeless child”, “homeless youth”, “homeless minor”, and “homeless student”
  • 40 states do not subsidize childcare for eligible minor parents when employment or school is required under TANF

Click here to access the full State Index.

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