Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care (In Focus Brief)

Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care (In Focus Brief)

Published: May 14, 2015
Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Associated Project

Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

Time frame: 2011-2014

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


Robin Dion

Key Findings

Key Findings:

  • Stable housing is important yet elusive for youth aging out of foster care.
  • Policies and programs offer few housing opportunities for youth exiting foster care.
  • HUD’s Family Unification Program (FUP) has promise for supporting youth but is not widely applied to this population.
  • Public housing authorities are not serving more youth largely because public child welfare agencies (PCWAs) are referring relatively few or no young adults to them.

Each year, about 25,000 young adults “age out” of the foster care system in the United States. At age 18 (or 21 in some states), they are discharged from the system and must immediately find and maintain housing. With little or no family assistance and means of self-sufficiency, the transition is often challenging, putting these youth at high risk of homelessness. There are no national estimates for homelessness among youth aging out of foster care, nor is there much information on the breadth or effectiveness of housing programs available to them. Mathematica Policy Research collaborated with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago to learn more about public resources and policies that can help prevent or mitigate homelessness among this population.

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