Who Is Couch-Surfing and Who Is on the Streets? Disparities Among Racial and Sexual Minority Youth in Experiences of Homelessness

This study offers unique insights into a chronically understudied segment of Youth Experiencing Homelessness (YEH): those who engage in “couch-surfing”. It investigates the factors associated with youth at risk of couch-surfing or sleeping on the streets relative to staying in a shelter. Two key themes can be pulled from the findings:

  • YEH identifying as female; Black or another non-Latinx youth of color; or as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, or another sexual orientation (LGBQ+) were at greater risk of couch-surfing relative to staying in a shelter.
  • YEH who threatened to harm themselves or others in the preceding 12 months or who attributed their homelessness to an abusive relationship were significantly more likely to either be couch-surfing or on the streets.
Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
Journal of Adolescent Health