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    Unaccompanied Children and Young Adults Served by California’s Homelessness Programs

    The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at University of California Berkeley

    Year: 2023

    This brief provides a snapshot of the 7,500 unaccompanied children (younger than 18 years-old) and 31,500 young adults (aged 18–24 years-old) who were served by homelessness programs that reported data into to the Homelessness Data Integration System (HDIS) between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2021. More than 75% of these unaccompanied children and young adults were people of color, and transgender or gender questioning/non-conforming children and young adults were overrepresented among this population. Unaccompanied children and young adults often experience homelessness for reasons that are distinct from the adult population; their episodes of homelessness may follow significant family instability or exits from institutional settings such as the juvenile justice or foster care systems.
    Several state and federal programs serve young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness while unaccompanied by adults, who present unique service needs compared to adult individuals or families. Unaccompanied children most commonly stayed in emergency shelters briefly before going to live with family or friends. Compared to unaccompanied children, unaccompanied young adults participated in a broader range of services and had a wider range of housing-related outcomes at the end of the assessment period. Additionally, young adults were more likely than children to continue needing assistance to move into permanent housing.

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