Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Family & Community Services

Program Description

Target

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.

Eligibility Criteria

Any youth under the age of 21 years (i.e., who has not reached his/her 21st birthday) who is currently without permanent housing or who is in imminent danger of losing permanent housing, and who is not a ward of the State of Illinois. The lower age range is dependent upon the program in which the youth is enrolled, as follows:

  • Transitional Living - 16 to 21
  • Emergency Housing - 14 to 21
  • Outreach - 14 to 21

Purpose

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.

Services

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

  • Transitional Living - Services focus on developing skills necessary for self support, 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. While reunification with their family is always a goal, education, employment services, life skills training and other needed services are offered to youth when possible.
  • 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 emergency shelter or for transitional services.

Delivery Method

The Homeless Youth program is administered by 21 community-based agencies. The program serves 26 Illinois counties, suburban Cook County and the city of Chicago.

Program Data

Program Data SFY09 SFY10 SFY11
Program Expenditures (Number in 000's) $4,508.9 $3,563.2 $3,147.3
Number of Grantees 21 21 20
Number Served 1,127 1,953 1,524

Note: Numbers served - As recorded by providers in the Division e-Cornerstone system. FY10 & FY11 numbers reflect all youth served by the program, previous years reflect only new enrollees.

Program Accomplishments

  • Ansell-Casey Assessments are conducted for clients in the emergency shelter and transitional living programs. Youth are assessed for needs and strengths and a case plan developed for service provision. Parents are involved in the development of this plan whenever possible.
  • The Ansell-Casey Assessment is also conducted upon discharge from the program to capture level of success in the program.
  • Case management, provision of food, shelter, life skills training, employment assistance, advocacy, education assistance, transportation, mental health and physical health services along with parenting skills if necessary are provided to youth.
  • Program standards are in place.