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 - 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 - 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 21 community-based agencies. The program serves 34 Illinois counties, suburban Cook County and the city of Chicago.

Program Data

Program Expenditure (Numbers in 000's) $4,393.2 $4,553.4 $4,734.6 $4,878.6
Number of Grantees 19 19 21 21
Number Served 600 625 650 690

Program Effectiveness 

  • Homeless Youth providers enrolled approximately 635 new youth in FY08, ages 14 to 20, in their Emergency Shelters and Transitional Living programs. An additional 55 youth were enrolled in the Homeless Youth Outreach program across the state. These figures do not capture the youth carried over from FY07 who received services for all or part of the fiscal year before being terminated.
  • Youth were assessed for needs and strengths and a case plan developed for service provision. Parents were involved in the development of this plan whenever possible.
  • Case management, provision of food and shelter, life skills training, employment assistance, advocacy, education assistance, and parenting skills were provided to youth.
  • During the last fiscal year, trainings were conducted around the state on DCFS Rule 409, which implements the Partial Emancipation legislation.
  • The Bureau supported the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless in conducting a new Homeless Youth Survey to obtain updated information on the numbers of Illinois youth in need of services. Youth enrolled in the Transitional Living program may remain in the program for up to two years but must be enrolled prior to their 21st birthday.
  • Developed program standards.
  • Developed and piloted a standards assessment review instrument in FY07 and began full implementation in FY08.