Fast Facts

Young people face a number of challenges growing up. Homelessness shouldn’t be one of them. Unfortunately, young people are at a far greater risk of becoming homeless through experiences outside of their control. This includes having suffered or witnessed abuse or neglect in the home, or if their family falls into hard times.

Young people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning are more likely to face rejection from loved ones, and children in foster care have a greater risk of becoming homeless at an earlier rage.

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Facts about homeless youth

By the numbers

Risk factors and demographics

  • Contrary to popular stereotypes, approximately 70–75% of homeless youth are “local,” meaning they come from the immediately surrounding geographic area.
  • Family conflict is the most prevalent reason youth and young adults identify for becoming homeless.
  • Up to 50% of homeless youth have been placed in foster care or an institutional setting—like the juvenile justice system—at some point in their lives. These are vital programs, but they lack sufficient resources to support all young people. As a result, children slip through the cracks or “age out” of services.
  • Up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, or Questioning). Family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a frequent factor contributing to LGBTQ homelessness.
  • Homeless youth suffer significant mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

You can help

  • These youth have enormous potential. All around us are future doctors, writers, artists, teachers, and thinkers. Let’s tap into the potential inside every young person in Washington state.
  • You can help prevent and end homelessness in Washington state. Learn how.