USICH Framework to End Youth Homelessness
The 2012 Amendment to Opening Doors was developed to specifically address what strategies should be implemented to improve the educational outcomes for children and youth, and the steps that need to be taken to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. The Amendment includes a new framework explaining how to approach the problem of youth homelessness in a more coordinated and effective way across different disciplines that work with this population. In February 2013, USICH released a detailed framework document for federal, state, and local leaders to use as a resource in their work to reach the 2020 goals that build off the strategies included in the Amendment, USICH Framework to End Youth Homelessness: A Resource Text for Dialogue and Action.
The framework calls on agencies and systems at all levels to work together to get to better youth outcomes in stable housing, permanent connections, education and employment, and well-being. To reach these outcomes, the framework has two prongs: improving data quality and collection on youth experiencing homelessness and building capacity for service delivery.
Improving data quality and collection will provider a clearer understanding of the prevalence, characteristics, and needs of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. In order to improve data quality and collection the framework proposes three complementary strategies:
- Integrate the data system for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act grantees (RHYMIS) with the Continuum of Care data system (HMIS).
- Leverage HUD’s Point-in-Time count to improve strategies for counting youth by enhancing collaborations between Continuums of Care (CoCs), Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) providers, and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and developing youth-specific methods for counting youth.
- Develop a national study that builds on program data and the HUD count that includes household surveys to get to a confident national estimate of youth homelessness.
Taken together, these three things will lead to a regularized estimate of and better data about youth experiencing homelessness.
An interagency initiative called Youth Count! was developed per this recommendation, which seeks to develop promising strategies for counting unaccompanied homeless youth, up to 24-years-old, through innovative implementations of HUD’s 2013 Point-in-Time (PIT) count.
Building capacity for service delivery includes increasing our knowledge of effective interventions. The framework proposes and supports action by:
- Introducing a preliminary research-informed intervention model. This model builds on existing knowledge of effective interventions and is driven by improving the core outcomes for youth noted above. The intervention model presents a new way to assess an individual youth's risk and protective factors to tailor interventions on the premise that interventions that reduce these risk factors and increase these protective factors will lead to stable housing, permanent connections, education and employment, and well-being. It also supports systems level assessment and planning.
- Focusing efforts on highly vulnerable subgroups of homeless youth including youth involved in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, LGBTQ youth, and pregnant and parenting youth.
Using this framework as a guide, stakeholders at the federal, state, and local levels can begin to work collaboratively with agencies that serve youth experiencing homelessness to improve the data available on youth, including an estimate of the size of the problem, build our knowledge of effective interventions, and target vulnerable subpopulations. Ultimately, ending youth homelessness requires a collaborative, systematic approach—federally and locally—that includes targeted homelessness assistance and mainstream systems. This framework is a positive step forward in our collaborative work to understand the scope and interventions necessary to end youth homelessness by 2020.
Resources on the youth framework are listed below and in the green box above.
More Resources on the Youth Framework: