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Teen Homelessness Statistics

Covenant House and the Covenant House Institute strive to be knowledge leaders in the field of homeless youth services by sharing what we have learned over our more than 40 years of experience. We share statistics on homeless youth in America in hopes to inform other service providers, impact policy decisions and engage people like you who want to help us wage a war on youth homelessness.

Statistics on Homeless Youth in America

Every Year, More Than 2 Million Kids in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness

Statistics on homeless youth in AmericaBehind the face of every homeless young person is another heartbreaking story – a teenage boy abused by his alcoholic parent, a pregnant girl rejected by her guardian, or a teenager trying to escape gang membership or a life of forced prostitution.

In case after case, the main cause of youth homelessness is physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse from parents or guardians.

The facts about homelessness are staggering ... but acknowledging the depth of the problem is the first step in fixing it.

  • 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.
  • In the United States, as many as 20,000 kids are forced into prostitution by human trafficking networks every year.
  • According to a study of youth in shelters, nearly 50% reported intense conflict or physical harm by a family member as a major contributing factor to their homelessness.
  • More than 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system.
  • 50% of adolescents aging out of foster care and juvenile justice systems will be homeless within six months because they are unprepared to live independently and have limited education and no social support.
  • Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18.

In addition to these heartbreaking statistics, a study issued by the Covenant House Institute revealed that:

  • 41% of Covenant House kids witnessed acts of violence in their homes.
  • 36% of Covenant House kids indicated that someone in their family used drugs regularly.
  • 19% of Covenant House kids reported being beaten with an object.
  • 19% of Covenant House kids reported that they have endured sexual abuse.
  • 15% of Covenant House kids reported that someone close to them had been murdered.

That's why Covenant House works day and night to provide shelter and support for kids who have endured lives of abuse, neglect, and homelessness. In 2013, Covenant House provided services to more than 56,000 of these kids. Our Residential and Community Service Center programs cared for 27,889 homeless kids, and Covenant House Street Outreach teams served an additional 28,221 homeless and at-risk youth on the streets in the 21 cities where Covenant House operates.