WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each year, approximately 25,000 young people “age out” of the foster care system in the U.S., many of them facing significant risks of becoming homeless. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently released a new report chronicling the housing needs of young people leaving foster care and documenting the array of housing options available to this population.
Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care seeks to address knowledge gaps related to the housing options available to former foster youth and to provide policymakers with recommendations for future research and policy improvements.
“All the available research underscores that these young people are too often faced with the hard choice of being precariously housed or living on our streets or in our shelters,” said Dr. Katherine O’Regan, HUD’s assistant secretary for Policy Development and Research. “As we work toward ending homelessness, policy makers at every level of government must consider the unique challenges of young people who exit a system of care with little or no housing options available to them.”
Adolescents typically age out of foster care on their 18th birthday although a number of states extended the age of emancipation to 21 which permit youth to remain in foster care for up to three more years.
Key findings of HUD’s study include:
After HUD launched this study in 2012, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness amended Opening Doors, the federal government’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. This amendment builds upon the goal to end family homelessness by 2020 by outlining particular measures to prevent and end homelessness for unaccompanied youth, including the subpopulation of youth, ages 16-24, aging out of foster care.