Missed Opportunities: Evidence on Interventions for Addressing Youth Homelessness

This Research-to-Impact brief is the eighth in a series from Voices of Youth Count. Voices of Youth Count is a national research and policy initiative designed to fill critical gaps in the nation’s knowledge about unaccompanied homelessness among youth and young adults ages 13 to 25. We need evidence about what works and what doesn’t in programming and services to ensure our resources support the most effective solutions for ending youth homelessness. The Voices of Youth Count initiative involved vast data collection and integrated a wide range of perspectives. One of the seven major research components of this initiative was the Systematic Evidence Review*, which aimed to compile the evidence on relevant programs and practices.

Policymakers, organizations, communities, and funders use research-based evidence to guide decisions about addressing the complex challenge of youth homelessness. This brief summarizes research-based evidence on the effectiveness of interventions intended to prevent youth homelessness, reduce its duration and effects, and promote sustainable improvements in youth well-being.

Accordingly, we screened nearly 4,000 studies, focusing on studies that evaluate the effectiveness of youth interventions. The screening process ultimately identified 62 studies that involved youth homelessness and evaluated the impacts of 51 programs.2 In this brief, we reveal critical evidence gaps that can prompt targeted investments in research and evaluation so that we may understand how to end youth homelessness more quickly

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