Youth Homelessness in Connecticut

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CCEH, in partnership with state agencies, providers, and Opening Doors for Runaway and Homeless Youth, is working to improve the capacity of our communities to serve runaway and homeless youth. Runaway and homeless youth, typically more difficult to identify and connect with needed services, have long been under-counted in our state.

In 2015, Connecticut, led by CCEH and the Partnership for Strong Communities, conducted its first statewide Youth Count. Building on the momentum developed in response to the findings that identified more than 3,000 youth and young adults throughout Connecticut, CCEH has joined with the Connecticut Department of Education, Department of Children and Families, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Department of Housing among many other state and local organizations to develop strategies to end youth homelessness by the 2022 goal.

In addition, CCEH has helped increase awareness of the prevalence and needs of runaway and homeless youth within communities and share knowledge about the evolving best practices in helping them. Through the facilitation of community engagements, CCEH has also increased collaboration and awareness at a community-level which can build a stronger safety net for our youth across the state.

For resources and support for youth and young adults, please visit youth-help.org. Information on food, shelter, employment, youth rights, and healthcare is available.


Youth Count Findings: A Profile

Definition of homeless youth used for Youth Count: Youth who have no secure ‘rights of tenancy’ (for themselves or through a parent/guardian) including, but not limited to those living in shelters, transitional housing programs, couch surfing, doubled up, hotel or motels, in parks, on the streets in cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not fit for human habitation.

Some important findings from the 2018 Youth Count include:

  • 33.1% had DCF/Foster care involvement
  • 20.6% had criminal justice involvement
  • 41.1% said they cannot stay where they are as long as they needed
  • 22.1% said the place they were currently staying in was unsafe
  • 37.1% identified as black and 36.4% identified as Hispanic
  • 18.6% of respondents were pregnant or parenting youth
  • 11.8% identified as bisexual and 6.1% identified as gay or lesbian
  • 70.7% of youth that were homeless or housing unstable said they did not seek shelter

Youth & Young Adult Outreach

Outreach plays an important role in engaging clients who are often the most in need of services. Youth and young adults ages 14 to 24 who are struggling with homelessness or housing instability can be difficult to identify and often hesitate to ask for help. This webinar brings together service providers and experts on outreaching to this population to share advice and information and improve our engagement efforts.

Youth & Young Adult Outreach Webinar
This panel includes:
Mary Ann Haley, Deputy Director at the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness
John Lawlor, Director at the Connection
Erin Wixsten, Consultant with OrgCode Consulting, Inc.

Additional Material on Youth Outreach:


The legal rights of homeless youth: a toolkit to raise awareness

The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires all school districts provide children and youth experiencing homelessness access to a public education and assistance to assure success in school. This includes the rights regarding school choice, immediate enrollment, and transportation.The overarching goal and intended impact of this toolkit is to inform youth, front-line school staff, and community partners about some of their rights under McKinney-Vento Act and provide them with steps to address these specific issues.

To find the name of your McKinney-Vento Liaison, click here.

For information on the McKinney- Vento Grant Application, please view our recorded webinar here. Eligible applicants are local or regional boards of education or regional educational service centers (RESCs) in Connecticut that serve an identified homeless population of children and youth.

Below are three short films highlighting the legal rights of homeless youth. For discussion guides for each of these films, click here.

This toolkit is a project of the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, The Institute for Community Research, and the Center for Children’s Advocacy.

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Asset Maps of Youth Resources


Youth Resources