Updated State Index Report on Youth Homelessness Released

Report to Provide State Rankings and Areas for Improvement for Further Decriminalization of Homelessness


March 10, 2022

Media Contact: Erika Lopez

(202)638-2535 x110 | elopez@homelesslaw.org

(March 10, 2022, Washington, DC) – The National Homelessness Law Center (Law Center) and True Colors United are excited to announce the release of the 2021 State Index on Youth Homelessness. The report was last released in 2021, this year’s updated information continues to follow state efforts to end youth homelessness.

The 2021 State Index on Youth Homelessness, authored by Gabriela Sevilla of the Law Center and Aleya Jones and Dylan Waguespack of True Colors United, a report that reviews and scores how each state works to prevent and end youth homelessness through its laws and policies, systems, and environment.

This year we have identified our top three priorities that we hope state and local advocates will champion in their communities.

  • Ensure each state has a version of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
  • Ending the Criminalization of Youth Experiencing Homelessness
  • Advancing access to higher education for young people

“As someone who experienced homelessness throughout my childhood, I’m very grateful to be a part of writing this report to support the movement to end homelessness. I’m also excited to connect and collaborate with advocates on how they can leverage the 2021 State Index on youth homelessness to enact change in their communities,” said Gabriela Sevilla, Youth Attorney at the Law Center.

From highest to lowest, the top 10 scores in the 2021 State Index were earned by the District of Columbia, Washington, Louisiana, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New York, New Mexico, and Kentucky (Connecticut, Maine, and New York all scored the same). From lowest to highest, the lowest 10 scores were earned by Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Arizona tied at 42, South Carolina, Iowa and Alaska tied at 44, Wyoming and Pennsylvania tied at 45, and Rhode Island.

“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 last report.”

Join our panel of speakers, including the report’s authors, on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at 2pm for an online seminar where they will 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 last year’s report by clicking here, and be sure to check back on March 16 for the full updated 2021 report.


The National Homelessness Law Center (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.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email