Administered by: Bureau of Youth Intervention Services


  • 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.


  • 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.

Program Sites / Service Areas

In 2015, following a competitive bid, the Department increased providers and service area. Currently, the Department funds 29 Homeless Youth service providers. 11 providers serve youth in portions of Cook County and 39 Chicago Community Areas while 18 providers are serving 50 downstate counties.

Program Analysis

In 2014 the Department funded 21 Homeless Youth service providers that served youth in portions of Cook County, 6 Chicago Community Areas and 25 additional downstate counties.

Homeless Youth Served - 2014

  • 2,355 youth and 329 of their accompanying children were served by Homeless Youth providers in 2014
  • An additional 3,657 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 6,012 youth in 2014, 71% of Homeless Youth providers (15 of 21) reported 2,914 homeless youth were turned away or put on a waiting list during the year.   

Outcomes for Youth Exiting the Program - 2014

  • 1,488 youth and 329 of their children were discharged from the program during 2014.  The data that follows describes the outcomes of these youth the reporting period.
    • 93% of youth served received an emergency/safety assessment.
      • 91% of ES and TL homeless youth assessed had an emergency care plan developed and implemented.
    • 89% of TL youth received a life skills assessment.
    • 65% of ES youth received a life skills assessment. 
    • 85% of youth served had an Individualized Case Plan developed. (Excludes Outreach) 
      • 75% of youth with a case plan, had fully completed it by program discharge. (Excludes Outreach)
    • 82% of TL homeless youth were employed and/or enrolled in an educational program at discharge.
    • 75% of TL homeless youth exited the program to stable housing.
    • 70% of ES homeless youth exited the program to stable housing.
    • 69% of eligible homeless youth acquired one or more new mainstream benefits. (SSI, Medicaid, TANF, SNAP, WIC etc.)
    • 24% of homeless youth were pregnant and/or parenting while in the program.
      • 60% of pregnant and/or parenting youth received parenting classes/skills. 
      • 93% of pregnant youth received prenatal care. 
    • 15% of Homeless youth self-identified at LGBTQ

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