Cityscape Explores Youth Homelessness

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Cityscape Explores Youth Homelessness

The latest issue of Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research titled "Youth Homelessness" features a research symposium on coordinated community responses to youth homelessness.

Guest editor Matthew H. Morton introduces six studies that explore youth homelessness from different perspectives. He describes the growing body of evidence on the significance of youth homelessness and policy efforts, linking housing to health and child development. He summarizes the symposium articles, touching on findings and discussions of the articles, and how the research can contribute to understanding youth homelessness and improving housing policies toward ending youth homelessness.

The symposium articles present empirical findings and discuss policy implications.

Jama Shelton, Jonah DeChants, Kim Bender, Hsun-Ta Hsu, Diane Santa Maria, Robin Petering, Kristin Ferguson, Sarah Narendorf, and Anamika Barman-Adhikari explore housing and homelessness challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young adults. They find that most LGBTQ young adults are exposed to homelessness due to voluntarily or involuntarily leaving the home of their parents, relatives, foster, or group homes. With regard to duration of homelessness, discrimination, and stress, homelessness experiences vary by subgroup.

Gina M. Samuels, Christine Cerven, Susanna R. Curry, and Shantá R. Robinson examine young people’s experiences with housing instability and attempts to engage resources. They find that youth weigh emotional, psychological, and relational risks associated with services and supports as well as physical risks when deciding whether or not to engage resources. While the most common form of engagement is selective engagement of services, LGBTQ identities are likely to be crucial in determination of the engagement of available resources.

Eric Rice, Monique Holguin, Hsun-Ta Hsu, Matthew Morton, Phebe Vayanos, Milind Tambe, and Hau Chan present a comprehensive evaluation of the relationship between homelessness vulnerability scores, housing placements, and stability of housing outcomes. Drawing upon data from the Homeless Management Information System, they find that the tool for assessing youth vulnerability performs well in predicting youth in needs for housing services. Without intervention such as placement in permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing, high vulnerability scores tend to be associated with higher odds of continued homelessness.

Benjamin F. Henwood, Brian Redline, Sara Semborski, Harmony Rhoades, Eric Rice, and Suzanne L. Wenzel explore the impact of permanent supportive housing on ontological security for young adults. They find that ontological security that consists of a sense of constancy, routine, and control positively affected the mental health and well-being of young adults living in permanent supportive housing. This also enables young residents to cultivate various types of social relationships, leading to engaging in positive identity formation.

Amy Dworsky, Fred Wulczyn, and Lilian Huang analyze the incidence of running away during the first out-of-home care spell among youth who entered foster care as adolescents. Relying on child-level placement data from the Multistate Foster Care Data Archive, they find that the likelihood of running away varies by demography, race, and placement type. The risk of running away might be mitigated if a screening or risk assessment process is introduced when youth enter out-of-home care, preventing them from being homeless.

Sarah Cusworth Walker, Esteban Valencia, Asia Bishop, Michael Irons, and Arina Gertseva explore development and evaluation of principles related to values and system operations in addressing the risk of justice-focused youth homelessness. This mixed methods study finds that 20 to 50 percent of youth cases filed in juvenile court had experienced at least one prior incidence of running away or being kicked out of the home. Qualitative findings highlight service gaps for youth experiencing homelessness, the limitations of current ways to identify homelessness and housing needs, and ideas for leveraging existing service providers.

Stephen Gaetz and David MacKenzie respond to the symposium articles by discussing implications and lessons from international contexts, particularly Canada and Australia. They highlight research, practice, and policy frameworks in their own countries, and offer challenges and opportunities associated with key issues.

In addition to the symposium, the issue features two refereed papers: Elora Lee Raymond, Richard Duckworth, Benjamin Miller, Michael Lucas, and Shiraj Pokharel’s case study of evictions in post-foreclosure, corporate-owned, single-family rentals in Atlanta, GA, and Brent Mast’s analysis of school performance of schools assigned to HUD-assisted households.

Articles in this issue’s regularly appearing departments include “2018 Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition: Whittier Falls in Dover, New Hampshire,” by Regina C. Gray in Affordable Design; “The Housing and Children’s Healthy Development Study,” by Sandra Newman and Tama Leventhal, and “Street Vending in the United States: A Unique Dataset from a Survey of Street Vendors in America’s Largest Cities” by Dick M. Carpenter II in Data shop; “Performance of Small Public Housing Authorities: Opportunities and Barriers,” by Andrew J. Greenlee, Han Bum Lee, and Paul E. McNamara in Policy Briefs; “Intersecting Opportunity Zones with Vacant Business Addresses,” by Alexander Din in Graphic Detail; and “Talking to Landlords,” by Philip M.E. Garboden and Eva Rosen in Evaluation Tradecraft.

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Posted November 28, 2018

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