A young person trying to move from homelessness to housing has to jump over so many hurdles and some of those hurdles are the services and systems that are supposed to help. We could describe some of those systems but young people who have experienced them say it best:

K. Livingston

When you try to access services, trying to just find a bed and shower, first you call 211 and tell them too many details, then centers and tell them all of your trauma, it’s too much. It’s a full-time job. It’s retraumatizing to explain why you deserve a roof over your head. A case worker should have a simple portal that doesn’t traumatize people. Service providers should have to explain themselves and allow for clients to choose from services that fit them.

Joel Swazo

The money and resources that are being provided have too many barriers. Lack of documentation or other things necessary to qualify is a huge barrier. Have to be on the verge of homelessness or losing services in order to qualify for the assistance. Should be fixed BEFORE it gets to the point of almost losing housing or utilities.

Kamiron K.

There is a lot of just shuffling people around between agencies to keep them busy and to keep it out of any one person’s hands. Nobody wants to be the one responsible in a legal sense so they pass you around.

Diamond Dumas

People running programs are experiencing burnout, which prevents them from being able to fully show up for young people they support; this contributes to a cycle of people’s needs not being met.

Rachel Litchman

You have to wait a lot when you don’t have housing, and lines make it inaccessible for those who can’t stand for long periods.


There is tone deafness in the current system and from NGOs or social services. There is a lack of training and understanding of the basics of the immigration system and services end up not being helpful or effective. There does not seem to be a willingness to learn from service providers.

Ejay Velez

Providers need to be educated on youth issues so they are better equipped to help with our specific needs. We need providers who look like us, in these spaces.

CiCi Williams

I don’t want to have to go somewhere to get referred somewhere else. We should know more about the programs that are available. Being a person fleeing DV makes you eligible for a lot of homelessness services but a lot of people don’t know that. HUD needs to do a better job letting people know and the systems need to collaborate better to help those that need services.

Theo O.

We need a collective effort to get service providers to understand our daily struggles. The system builds walls around us that make it more challenging to reach those in power; they want to develop programs for us but will get nowhere if they don’t ask us what we need. We are the experts on what we need, and no book can teach that. We must sit at the table and help you pioneer what the end of homelessness will look like.

Discover our research framework or check out
the full metrics list

This year, we’ve reformed the Index to focus on unhoused youth and young adults (YYA), aligning it with their experiences and policy needs. Shifting from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions may see lower scores than before. This is a deliberate strategy, not a setback. Lower scores should motivate, not discourage, jurisdictions. They present an opportunity to adopt policies that effectively tackle and prevent youth homelessness, fostering meaningful progress.

Housing Providers Required to Provide Mental/Behavioral Health Supports

  • Homelessness services
  • Maintaining housing

The jurisdiction requires housing providers for youth and young adults to provide youth and young adults with optional mental or behavioral health supports

Housing supports for youth and young adults can include access to behavioral and mental health services, as well as wraparound services that provide assistance with education, employment, and basic needs, such as food and clothing. Paid peer mentors should also be available to provide support as young people navigate the challenges of transitioning to independent or supported living. These supports should always be optional and not a condition of receiving or maintaining housing. And when supports are wanted, they should be provided on demand. The best programs will be designed with input from youth and young adults representing a broad range of experiences and needs.

“Finding my own community saved me. I had nice things at my shelter (as it is highly sponsored and funded) but lacked the support that mattered; pushing my self-sufficiency and individual success did nothing for me but made me feel worse. Therapists told me to avoid people like myself in the shelter, but my peers helped me out of there, not my team. At my housing program, most of the folks getting kicked out were disproportionately black, brown, and LGBTQ. They hold youth to such high standards, and when we don’t meet them, they take away our support systems and label us a problem.”– Theo O.

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
1.0 Reform The jurisdiction requires housing providers for youth and young adults to provide mental or behavioral health supports that are optional for the young person
0.0 Status Quo No law found
No Data No Data No Data

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. ", Housing Providers Required to Provide Mental/Behavioral Health Supports" Accessed: June 22, 2024.

Maintaining housing

Maintaining housing or “security of tenure” is an essential part of the right to housing. This principle ensures that individuals and families have a sense of stability and security in knowing that they will not be arbitrarily evicted from their homes. It means that people can establish roots in their communities and have a sense of belonging. Security of tenure also helps to prevent homelessness and displacement, which can have devastating and long-lasting effects. 

“People weaponize their privilege and power. We should identify and call out benign -isms and phobias. Parenting individuals – especially black women – are more likely to be evicted, black men are more likely to be denied housing at the jump. The whole family unit may not be approved for housing – which can lead to issues when those families choose to stay together “breaking the rules” which can result in eviction. Racism and prejudice runs rampant and pushes people into untenable situations.” – Tiffany S. Haynes

Homelessness services

Model Statute:

These maps are provided as legal information only and should not be used as legal advice for your specific situation. If you need help with any of the issues described on this website, please check out the Homeless Youth Legal Network (HYLN) directory OR email or call HYLN for help finding a referral to a lawyer.