Homeless youth: Characteristics, contributing factors, and service options

Sanna J. Thompson, Kimberly Bender, Liliane Windsor, Mary S. Cook, Travonne Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Distinguishing between causes and consequences of youth homelessness is often difficult. Characteristics may have existed prior to youths' leaving home, likely contributing to their running away, or may develop once the youths become immersed in "street culture." Owing to these complexities, characteristics and contributing factors associated with youth homelessness often intersect. Homeless youths' diverse backgrounds and experiences, including difficult family circumstances and exposure to victimization, require services that meet their unique needs. Services provided to homeless youth include basic services (e.g., food, shelter, and clothing), medical care, case management, independent living-skills training, and referrals. The literature concerning these issues is reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-217
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Families of homeless youth
  • Homeless youth
  • Homeless youth characteristics
  • Homeless youth services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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