Homeless Youth (HY)
Bureau of Youth Services & Delinquency Prevention
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services

Program Description


The Homeless Youth program serves those youth who are 20 years of age or younger who cannot return home and/or lack the housing and skills necessary to live independently.


The purpose of the Homeless Youth program is to provide services that help homeless youth transition to independent living and become self-sufficient. The program strives to meet the immediate survival needs of youth (food, clothing, and shelter) and assist them in becoming self-sufficient.


The Homeless Youth program provides several types of important services for homeless youth.

They include:

  • Transitional Living - These services focus on developing skills necessary to support oneself, including education, employment services, life skills training, and subsidized housing.
  • Emergency / Interim Housing - Youth receive a safe, clean, dry place to sleep either through placement in a shelter or group home or by purchasing lodging.
  • Outreach - These services seek to find homeless youth in areas where they congregate and assess their needs. Program staff may attempt to reunite them with family or refer them to transitional services.

Delivery Method

The Homeless Youth program is administered by community-based agencies. This program is available in six Illinois counties and the city of Chicago.

Program Data

Program Expenditure (Numbers in 000's) $4,649.7 $4,393.2 $4,553.4 $4,734.6
Number of Grantees 19 19 19 21
Number Served 600 600 625 650

Program Accomplishments

  • 21 Homeless Youth providers served approximately 650 youth, ages 14 to 20 in their Emergency Shelters and Transitional Living Programs.
  • An additional 55 youth were reportedly served in the Homeless Youth Outreach programs across the state. In the past, this number has not readily available as no names or demographic information was collected on these youth. The Homeless Youth agencies are now trying to collect this information more consistently, however, the youth served by this program are those often unwilling to sign up for actual programming, due to desire for anonymity.
  • During the last fiscal year, trainings were conducted around the state on the Rule 409 Partial Emancipation legislation.
  • Two agencies ended their contracts with DHS, leaving money to be used elsewhere. The decision was made to grant the funds to Unity Parenting and Counseling to provide extra beds for pregnant and parenting girls. They were able to add 5 apartments with the funds. Funds were also granted to New Moms, opening up 6 more beds to pregnant and parenting girls and agreeing to serve girls 16 and 17 in addition to those over 18 previously served.
  • The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless conducted a new Homeless Youth Survey to obtain updated information on the numbers of youth in need of services. We provided assistance by contacting agencies and asking that they take the time to complete the survey.