Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Project

Overview

Senate report language accompanying HUD’s 2009 Appropriation directed the Secretary to “conduct an evaluation of the housing models that are most effective in preventing and ending homelessness for youth aged 16-24.”  HUD chose to focus this research effort on the housing needs of the over 25,000 youth who “age out” of the foster care system each year.  Data on the number of youth experiencing homelessness each year are both fragmented and sparse, but research on this population indicates that youth may be the single age group most at risk of homelessness.  The Family Unification Program (FUP) is the only federal program that explicitly provides housing assistance for youth aging out of foster care, but until this time, little was known about the extent to which communities are utilizing FUP to serve youth, and the challenges and benefits to doing so. 

The purpose of HUD’s study of Housing For Youth Aging Out of Foster Care was to:

  1. explore and document the range of housing settings available to youth who age out of foster care;
  2. conduct an in-depth review of communities who are utilizing Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers to serve youth aging out of foster care;
  3. identify opportunities to mitigate the risk of homelessness for youth as they transition out of the foster care system; and
  4. suggest directions for future research and evaluation efforts related to housing for youth aging out of foster care.

This research effort was led by Mathematica Policy Research in partnership with Chapin Hall, and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation (ASPE) was a partner to HUD in the support and management of this study.  This findings from this research will inform concrete strategies to meeting the objective of “advancing health and housing stability for youth aging out of systems such as foster care and juvenile justice” within Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessnesss, which set the goal of ending homelessness for youth (along with families and children) in 10 years.