Here’s What It Looks Like to End Youth Homelessness

Jan 2017

2016 White House youthOne of the most important steps in achieving a goal is to clearly define what it is you are trying to accomplish. If you can first picture what success looks like, you can develop a plan to get there. This applies to daily tasks like tying your shoes or preparing a meal, to bigger tasks – like ending youth homelessness.

On Friday, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released its Criteria and Benchmarks for Achieving the Goal of Ending Youth Homelessness. This is a big deal, as it provides policymakers, activists, and communities with specific goals and guidance as we work toward our shared mission.

The True Colors Fund is honored to have played a role in the creation of this guidance. 2016’s White House Policy Briefing on Youth Homelessness, which we co-hosted with the White House and USICH, was a key opportunity for over 150 leaders from across the country to inform these criteria and benchmarks. The National Youth Forum on Homelessness (NYFH), which we facilitate in partnership with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, played a vital role in reviewing and providing feedback on this document, as well.

Going forward, communities will be able to measure their success based on these criteria and benchmarks, as well as have the opportunity to validate and confirm their achievement through a federal review process.

Here’s a quick overview of the newly released criteria and benchmarks for achieving the goal of ending youth homelessness:

[kad_modal btnsize=”large” btntitle=”CHECK IT OUT” btncolor=”#ffffff” title=”An Overview of USICH’s Criteria and Benchmarks” btncolor=”#ffffff”]


    1. The community identifies all unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness.
    2. The community uses prevention and diversion strategies whenever possible, and otherwise provides immediate access to low-barrier crisis housing and services to any youth who needs and wants it.
    3. The community uses coordinated entry processes to effectively link all youth experiencing homelessness to housing and services solutions that are tailored to their needs.
    4. The community acts with urgency to swiftly assist youth to move into permanent or non-time-limited housing options with appropriate services and supports.
    5. The community has resources, plans, and system capacity in place to continue to prevent and quickly end future experiences of homelessness among youth.


Benchmarks are important indicators of whether and how well a community’s response is working. While Federal partners are still in the process of developing relevant indicators, they have identified the following benchmarks as part of the overall guidance for communities:

    1. There are few youth experiencing homelessness at any given time.
    2. Youth experiencing homelessness are swiftly connected to safe and stable housing opportunities and to permanent housing options.


Check out the full version here. Help us spread the word, and get involved in the effort to end youth homelessness in your own community.