Administered by: Bureau of Youth Intervention Services

Goals: 

  • To ensure youth are safe and stable
  • To increase the number of self-sufficient youth among the homeless youth population
  • Fewer homeless youth

Program Description:

The Homeless Youth program is a holistic model designed to increase the safety of youth ensuring that their basic survival needs are met while also providing safe and stable housing; education and employment services, and the life skills necessary to become self-sufficient. The primary service delivery approach includes assessment and individualized case management. The model includes the following basic program components:

  • Outreach (OR)
    Outreach programs are designed to identify homeless youth to ensure that their basic safety, survival and immediate needs are being met, and to provide when possible, case management and other services designed to assist the youth in making healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Emergency Shelter/Interim Housing (ES)
    Emergency/Interim Housing programs provide temporary housing and services to homeless youth on a 24-hour basis for up to 120 days. These programs are designed to ensure that basic safety, survival and immediate needs are being met, to reunify the youth with his/her family, when possible or to transition them from homelessness to self-sufficient living.
  • Transitional Living (TL)
    Transitional Living programs provide housing and services to homeless youth for up to 24 months. Programs are designed to transition youth from homelessness to self-sufficient living; and/or to reunify the youth with his/her family, when possible.

Target Population:

14-23 year olds who lack safe and stable housing.

Activities:

  • Outreach Programs
  • Emergency Shelter/Interim Housing Programs
  • Transitional Living Programs
  • Individualized Assessment and Case Management
  • Life Skills; Education Services; Employment Services; Stable Housing; Basic Needs etc.

Logic Model:  Homeless Youth Logic Model

Program Sites / Service Areas

Program Data and Performance

Homeless Youth Served - 2015

  • 2,798 youth and 515 of their accompanying children were served by Homeless Youth providers in 2015.
  • An additional 3,958 homeless youth were considered brief contacts receiving referrals and basic needs services only - including food, clothing, personal hygiene, bandages, blankets, coats, hats, bus passes, etc.
  • While Homeless Youth providers were able to provide some service to 6,756 youth and their children in 2015, 59% of Homeless Youth providers (17 of 29) reported 2,530 homeless youth were turned away or put on a waiting list during the year. 65% of those youth were seeking Transitional Living services.

Who were the youth served by the program in FY2015?

The data below was provided for 2,798 program youth when available.

Demographics

  • 71% of homeless youth served were female.
  • 13% of homeless youth served were under 18 years old.
  • 65% of homeless youth served were 18-20 years old.

Special Populations

  • 9% of homeless youth served were pregnant.
  • 22% of homeless youth served were parenting.
  • 14% of homeless youth served identified as LGBTQ.
  • 5% of homeless youth served indicated they were former DCFS wards.
  • 10% of homeless youth served indicated they were victims of abuse.
  • 2 (two) of the homeless youth served were victims of human trafficking.

Length of Homelessness

  • 50% of homeless youth served were homeless less than one month (32% less than one week).
  • 35% of homeless youth served were homeless 1 to 6 months (11% 1 to 2 months.)
  • 15 % of homeless youth served were homeless more than 6 months. (9% were homeless more than 1 year.)

Education & Employment

  • 49% of homeless youth served did not have a HS diploma or GED.
  • 51% of homeless youth served had a HD diploma or GED. (7% had GED)
  • 30% of homeless youth served were either expelled, suspended, had dropped out, or were not attending any educational program.
  • 9% of homeless youth served were currently or had previously attended some college or tech school with a few completing degrees/certificates.
  • 71% of homeless youth served were unemployed. (21% were employed part-time and 8% were employed full-time.)

Program Awareness

  • In FY2015, 805 Program Awareness/Outreach events were held reaching 6,194 youth.
  • In FY2015, with data reported on 65% of youth, homeless youth were served from 46 Counties, 17 Cook Townships, and 36 Chicago Community Areas.

Program Performance - 2015

  • 94% of Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living homeless youth had an Emergency/Safety Assessment conducted. 89% of those youth requiring an emergency care plan, had one developed and implemented.
  • 91% of Transitional Living homeless youth had an individualized case plan developed based on a Standardized Life Skills assessment. 91.5% of youth completed 50% or more of their plan prior to discharge. (64% completed 100% of their plan & 28% completed 50% or more.)
  • 68% of Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living homeless youth exited the program employed and/or in school.
  • 72% of Transitional Living homeless youth and 42% of Emergency Shelter/Interim Housing homeless youth exited the program to stable housing.
  • 80% of Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living homeless youth assessed/determined to need education services received education services
  • 89% of Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living pregnant homeless youth received prenatal care.
  • 60% of eligible homeless youth acquired new mainstream benefits (SSI, Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, WIC; etc.)

Cost Analysis - 2015

  • The average per capita cost to serve the 2,798 youth in the HY program in FY2015 was $1,903 and this does not account for the 515 children of these youth that were served nor does it account for the additional 3,958 youth that received Outreach basic needs only services. When these are included, a total of 7,271 youth received services at an average cost of $732.
  • Homeless youth are generally considered to be unemployed and undereducated lacking the resources and capacity to be tax paying productive citizens. In 2013 the average Illinois taxpayer was estimated to pay $4,658 per year in State and local taxes.
  • While by no means are all homeless youth involved in the criminal or juvenile justice systems, they are at significant risk for system involvement. The average per capita cost to house a youth in IDJJ in 2015 remained $111,000.
  • Homeless youth are also at significantly greater risk of child welfare involvement. In 2015, the average cost per youth for a DCFS residential placement or group home continued to exceed $100,000 per year. In 2014 the average cost to DCFS for youth 17 to 21 for substitute care placements averaged $48,328 per youth per year. It is also important to note that DCFS placements are typically multi-year placements at these costs.

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