Youth Homelessness in Connecticut

Ending Youth Homelessness in Connecticut

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 2015 Youth Count include:

  • 3,000 youth identified through 3 methods enhanced coordination and recruitment methods
  • 33% had DCF/Foster Care involvement
  • 22% had Criminal Justice involvement
  • More than 40% indicated they had no permanent place to live for over a year
  • 38.6 % identified their race as “black” and 36% identified ethnicity as Hispanic
  • 30% of females indicated they were pregnant or parenting
  • 25% of “literally homeless” youth self-designated as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning

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.

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

Asset map developed by the Torrington community.

Asset map of Youth Services (Opening Doors for Youth Plan)

Youth asset resource developed by the Fairfield County community.


More Information

Overview: Connecticut Homeless Youth Count

Opening Doors for Youth Plan (Partnership for Strong Communities)

2015 Point-in-Time Count (includes Youth Homelessness Count)

Invisible No More (Study on Homeless Youth in Connecticut)

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) to provide capital funding to upgrade the condition of existing emergency shelter facilities, including upgrades to support the overall health and safety of shelter residents.  More information and the application is here.