Young adults (18 to 24 years old) are one of the fastest growing homeless populations in the country. On any given night in the US, approximately 41,000 unaccompanied youth ages 13-25 experience homelessness.
The factors that contribute to homelessness among young adults vary, and, because of this, solutions must span a range of interventions that meet their physical, developmental, cultural, and social needs. This includes education and employment supports, as well as a range of short and longer-term housing options. Supportive housing programs tailored to meet the unique needs of young adults transitioning to adulthood are relatively new, but there are promising approaches to serve the highest-need of these young adults.
The Office of Housing within the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) have partnered for many years working together to build a young adult supportive housing program, Connect to Home (CTH), that adapts to the needs of the population. Programs like Connect to Home offer a crucial intervention that serves young adults as they are leaving an institution and before they experience homelessness and become underserved and even more vulnerable individuals. Through the early implementation of Connect to Home, CSH and DCF gathered resources, consulted with peers across the country, and learned from the experience of building a program that can work for young adults. This document outlines the concepts that anyone hoping to create or refine supportive housing programs for young adults need to know.