Profile of Homeless Youth in America

Nov 29, 2023

Each year, an estimated 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness, of which 700,000 are unaccompanied minors, meaning they are not part of a family or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

How did they get there and how do we get them off the streets?

Take a closer look at the data below to get a better understanding of the realities these kids face and how you can help.

Youth/young adults ages 12 to 24, unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. They often DO NOT fit the traditional idea of what ‘homelessness’ looks like, they:

  • Go to school
  • Have jobs
  • Participate in community activities
  • Enjoy social lives with friends who have safe, dependable places to sleep every night

Early Runners:
Displaced from their homes due to severe conflict, abuse, or neglect and experiencing short-term homelessness.

Transition aged (18+), cannot return home, and require housing with life-skills training.

Older, Employed Homeless Youth:
Highly mobile with access to part or full-time employment, but no access to affordable housing.

Street-Dependent Youth:
Sleeping out of home for 6+ months, in need of services to assist with education, employment, and reconnecting with family or social support networks.

Homeless Youth with Long-Term Disabilities:
Experiencing cognitive or emotional challenges and requiring support into their adult years.

Family Instability:
Including child abuse and/or neglect, domestic violence, parental substance abuse, and conflict over sexual orientation or gender identity.

System Involvement:
Including child welfare and juvenile justice systems. For many, “aging out” (18-21) of foster care is accompanied by instant homelessness because housing is tied to government support.

Residential Instability:
With one’s family and usually due to economic issues.

Extreme Disconnection:
From education, employment, health care, and the positive communities, social and support networks that could help them to change their circumstances.

At StandUp for Kids, we continuously establish and launch programs and services to help homeless and at-risk kids move forward:


Range from providing hygiene/food/clothing and health care, to offering counseling and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.


Street OutreachOutreach CentersHousing Support, and Mentoring help us meet the basic needs of America’s most vulnerable kids while giving them a safe space to develop trusting, caring relationships with our volunteers and trained professionals.


Your contributions power our impact. Together, we can end the cycle of youth homelessness.