Defining Homelessness in the Transition to Adulthood for Policy and Prevention

The present study investigates the nature of homelessness among at-risk youth transitioning into adulthood. Current policies use multiple definitions to determine eligibility for homeless services among adolescents and emerging adults. Conflicting criteria demarcate different thresholds along an assumed continuum ranging from frequent mobility to living on the streets. Multiple eligibility criteria impede cohesive service provision and prevention efforts. Little research tests this continuum conceptualization, while developmental research suggests subgroups better capture homelessness in emerging adulthood. The present study leveraged prospective data on a national sample of child welfare-involved adolescents—a population vulnerable to homelessness in emerging adulthood.

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Journal of Child and Family Studies