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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.

Universal Design Requirements in New Housing Construction

  • Accessibility
  • Priority level

The jurisdiction requires Universal Design for a certain percentage of units in new construction

Universal Design is an approach to creating living and public spaces that are accessible and usable by people of all ages and abilities. It involves designing spaces that are functional, comfortable, and safe for everyone, regardless of their physical limitations or mobility challenges. By implementing Universal Design principles in housing, we can create homes that are more inclusive and welcoming to all.

Jurisdictions could encourage Universal Design in housing by making it a requirement in new construction or providing financial and other incentives to push builders to incorporate accessibility features into their designs. This ensures that people with disabilities can live independently and comfortably in their homes and access needed services in their communities.

“Food pantries, DSS, shelters – none of these places are equipped to adequately and safely serve those with disabilities. Even churches lack accessibility. ADA has a lot of loopholes. Example: If it will make a historical building look bad they do not have to add a ramp. Tourism takes precedence over accessibility.” – Kamiron K

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
1.0 Reform The jurisdiction requires Universal Design for a certain percentage of units in new construction
0.0 Status Quo No laws found
No Data No Data No Data

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. ", Universal Design Requirements in New Housing Construction" Accessed: May 25, 2024.


Accessibility in housing is a pressing issue for young people with disabilities but should be a pressing issue for all. Everyone benefits from an accessible space – none of us is fully abled all of the time and our lives are richer when we can welcome all people into public spaces and our homes.

“There is rampant discrimination in housing options against those with disabilities. Application processes are too long to qualify for housing and very often people are considered too disabled to live in available housing. You can be kicked out of your housing for being a student. Studio apartments are like shoeboxes – they are not accessible to those in wheelchairs or those who are older.” – Ejay Velez

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.