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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Waiver of Parental Notice When Minors Consent to Shelter
- Homelessness services
The jurisdiction allows unhoused minors to consent to shelter and related services with a waiver or delay of parental notification requirements
Young people may require emergency shelter due to abuse, neglect, or homelessness. However, they may not feel comfortable or safe seeking out this shelter if they know that their parents will be notified. In such cases, some jurisdictions have laws that allow minors to consent to shelter without the need for parental notification or with a delay of notification.
|Type of Policy
|Minors 12 years old (or younger) can consent to shelter and there are broad exceptions to parental notification
|Minors 13-15 years old can consent to shelter and there are broad exceptions to parental notification
|Minors 16 or 17 years old can consent to shelter and there are broad exceptions to parental notification
|Minors can consent only if parents can’t be found
|No minor consent but jurisdiction has a 72 hour safe harbor provision
|Jurisdiction criminalizes providing shelter to minors without parental consent
|Only minors who are sexually exploited can consent to shelter
|Definition of shelter “provider” very limited and/or there are other barriers to youth being able to self-refer to shelter
Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. "State Index on Youth Homelessness, Waiver of Parental Notice When Minors Consent to Shelter" https://youthstateindex.com/maps/waiver-of-parental-notice-when-minors-consent-to-shelter/. Accessed: February 24, 2024.
In many jurisdictions, minors have limited autonomy when it comes to entering into contracts for rental properties, obtaining medical care, and other important decisions that affect their lives. However, there is a growing movement to increase the autonomy of minors in these areas. One important step is to allow minors to enter into rental contracts, which would give them greater control over their living arrangements. Additionally, providing a statutory process for emancipation gives minors who are already supporting themselves the legal right to make their own decisions.
Another area where autonomy is important is minors’ ability to consent to shelter and services, a crucial tool in ensuring that unhoused youth get the help and support they need.
“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.” – Joel Swazo