Homeless Youth Estimation Project

How many young people in your community need help because they’ve left home? Do you know?

The Homeless Youth Estimation Project is designed to provide a reliable estimate of the number of youth in any given school district who have left home and are living somewhere else — a car, a friend’s house, with a boyfriend or girlfriend — temporarily. The goal of the project is to inform public policy regarding services to unstably housed young people, provide much-needed statistical information to local agencies that work with at-risk and homeless youth, and improve the ability of schools and community-based agencies to develop services and obtain funding for them. The Homeless Youth Estimation Project employs an innovative approach. Assuming that young people have unique and invaluable insight into the struggles of their peers, it questions students directly (rather than guidance counselors or administrators) about local youth transience and homelessness.

The project has been used in 12 high schools in New England, including 9 high schools in Connecticut as part of that state’s 2015 Homeless Youth Count. The results indicate high numbers of youth disconnected from stable, permanent homes. Contrary to the popular notion that youth homelessness is primarily about young people living in dumpsters or abandoned buildings, this research suggests that homelessness is in fact a broad phenomenon existing on an extended continuum. Opportunities to intervene in the lives of these youth when services can be most effective — when they can prevent school dropout, for instance — are thus abundant. Click on the links below for detailed findings.