Department of Housing and Urban Development Reports 2014 Estimates of Homeless Youth

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Young man sitting on the sidewalk.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released the results of its most recent point-in-time count, which estimates the number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States on a given night in January 2014.

The report suggests a slight decline in the numbers of unaccompanied homeless children and youth across the country, with more significant declines in some individual states. Here are some of the findings:

National Estimates

  • There were 45,205 unaccompanied homeless children and youth on a single night in 2014. Most (86 percent or 38,931) were youth between the ages of 18 and 24, and 14 percent (or 6,274) were children under the age of 18.
  • The unsheltered rate was considerably greater for homeless children (under 18) than for unaccompanied youth (18 to 24). Nearly 6 in 10 unaccompanied children (59% or 3,720 people) were counted in unsheltered locations. By comparison, less than half of unaccompanied youth (46% or 17,750) were unsheltered.
  • The number of unaccompanied children and youth declined in the past year, by 411 people or less than 1 percent. A 3 percent decrease in the number of unsheltered unaccompanied children and youth (or 683) offset a 1 percent increase in the number of sheltered children and youth (or 272).

State Estimates

  • California reported the largest numbers of unaccompanied homeless children and youth, 13,709 people or 30 percent of the national total.
  • States with the largest numbers of  unaccompanied homeless children (under 18) were: California (1,782), Florida (1,230) and Nevada (773). Together, California, Florida, and Nevada had 60 percent of the nation’s unaccompanied children.
  • Between 2013 and 2014, 21 states and Washington, DC, reported increases in the number of unaccompanied homeless children and youth. Nevada had the largest increase, with 526 more unaccompanied children and youth in the past year, a 27 percent increase.
  • Between 2013 and 2014, 29 states reported decreases in the number of unaccompanied homeless children and youth. California reported the largest decrease, with 452 fewer unaccompanied children and youth, a 3 percent decline from 2013.

With the 2015 point-in-time count just a few months away, youth-serving organizations and the HUD-funded continuums of care with which they are associated may want to consult "Counting Homeless Youth: Promising Practices From the Youth Count! Initiative" (PDF, 195KB), HUD's Point-in-Time Count Methodology Guide, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness's library of articles and webinars about counting homeless young people.

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