Working to Reduce Youth Homelessness

Homeless Youth Handbook

Columbia Legal Services has launched a groundbreaking tool to help thousands of Washington’s homeless youth find safety and stability, and understand their legal rights. The Homeless Youth Handbook - Legal Issues and Options is a unique and comprehensive guide to the laws and other issues that affect homeless youth in the state of Washington. The Handbook’s 18 chapters cover topics from education, health care and housing to consumer and credit issues. Also available for download is the 2014 Homeless Youth Handbook which include changes in the law that occured through July 2014.

Promising Practices to Prevent Youth Homelessness

Youth who are involved in the foster care and juvenile justice systems are at increased risk of homelessness. Over one third of all youth aging out of foster care and one fourth of youth existing juvenile justice facilities experience homelessness within one year of leaving those systems. And, these numbers don’t include those youth in the truancy system or those exiting county detention facilities. Society needs to do a better job of addressing the needs of these youth, many of whom have experienced significant trauma in their home lives.  Services that focus on the education, mental health, employment, and other needs of these at-risk youth will help prevent homelessness and enable them to transition to productive adult lives.

Drawing on national, state, and local resources, as well as community input, the Children and Youth Project at Columbia Legal Services has developed a series of Promising Practices to help identify programs and policies that have potential to help these youth. It is our hope this will spark a broader discussion concerning systemic and public policy improvements for addressing homelessness and the risk of homelessness for youth involved with foster care, juvenile justice, and status offense systems. The Promising Practices were developed under a grant from the Children’s Justice Interdisciplinary Task Force.

Promising PracticesPromising Practices for Preventing
Youth & Young Adult Homelessness