2019 State Index Report on Youth Homelessness Shows Progress



Contact: Crys Letona

Communications Associate

202-638-2535 cletona@homelesslaw.org

(February 5, 2020, Washington, DC) – The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (Law Center) and True Colors United are excited to announce the release of the 2019 State Index on Youth Homelessness. This is the second consecutive year that these two organizations have come together to evaluate all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness.

The 2019 State Index on Youth Homelessness, authored by Brandy Ryan of the Law Center and Dylan Waguespack of True Colors United, assigns each state a score based on its efforts to:

  • Ensure comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness;
  • Prevent youth contact with criminal and juvenile legal systems;
  • Provide unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence, and more.

“We are so grateful to the pro bono teams who made this research a reality. With their help, we are clearly showing states how their efforts on youth homelessness are working and where they can improve. We are excited to present this advocacy tool and to participate in using it to improve the lives of youth experiencing homelessness,” said Brandy Ryan, Staff Attorney at the Law Center.

From highest to lowest, the highest 10 scores in the 2019 State Index were earned by California and Massachusetts (tied), District of Columbia, New York, Washington, Vermont, Louisiana and Maine (tied), and Connecticut. From lowest to highest, the lowest 10 scores were earned by Pennsylvania, Idaho, South Carolina, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Iowa (tied), Alabama, Wisconsin, and Ohio and North Carolina (tied).

“We commend the efforts many states are making to ensure that youth and young adults experiencing homelessness are achieving positive outcomes in housing, health care, education, and employment,” Waguespack stated. “While most states have yet to achieve a passing score, many are on the right track, and we’re thrilled by the progress we’ve seen in just one year since the release of the inaugural report.”

This afternoon at 2 p.m. E.T., Waguespack and Ryan will be joined by Amanda Clifford, Chair of the Policy Committee of the National Youth Forum on Homelessness for a webinar where they’ll discuss this year’s findings as well as strategies that advocates and state officials can use to advance the policies recommended by the State Index.

Read the full Index here: https://truecolorsunited.org/index/


The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (the Law Center) is the only national organization dedicated solely to using the power of the law to prevent and end homelessness. With the support of a large network of pro bono lawyers, we address the immediate and long-term needs of people who are homeless or at risk through outreach and training, advocacy, impact litigation, and public education.

True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people. We believe that youth homelessness is a community issue. Real change can happen when people come together with a shared vision. For more information about True Colors United and to access research publications such as this report, please visit its website at truecolorsunited.org.

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