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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.

Plan to Fully Meet Need for Affordable Housing Units

  • Priority level
  • Right to housing

Housing affordability has become a major issue across the country, with rising rents and gentrification leading to displacement and homelessness. Jurisdictions should focus on building and obtaining the required amount of affordable housing units through clear and actionable planning and appropriate money specifically to house homeless youth and young adults.

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
1.0 Reform Jurisdiction has an actionable plan to construct/obtain enough affordable housing (or requires local governments to make one)
0.5 Harm Reduction Jurisdiction encourages local governments or nonprofit or private entities to develop affordable housing
0.0 Status Quo No laws found
No Data No Data No Data

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. ", Plan to Fully Meet Need for Affordable Housing Units" Accessed: July 13, 2024.

Right to Housing

The Index is centered around the fundamental human right to housing. A right to housing is the guarantee that every youth and young adult can access and maintain safe and habitable housing. The elements of a right to housing are:

  1. Security of tenure;
  2. Availability of services;
  3. Affordability;
  4. Accessibility;
  5. Habitability;
  6. Location;
  7. Cultural adequacy. 

“There should always be somewhere for everybody to go. We all should be able to have the housing we need. It shouldn’t be something that you HOPE to get, it should be a given. Build more shelters, build more housing.”K. Livingston

Priority level

The success and speed of ending or preventing youth homelessness in a particular jurisdiction will depend on how much it is prioritized. The State Index currently tracks whether a jurisdiction specifically appropriates money for youth and young adult housing and whether there are jurisdiction-wide plans to create enough affordable and accessible housing. In the future, we may track whether there are government-funded agencies or employees who are responsible for coordinating and improving youth homelessness services in the jurisdiction or whether there is a plan to end youth homelessness developed in consultation with youth and young adults who were paid for their time and expertise.

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.