Welcome to the California Homeless Youth Project

HYP Publications


  • More Than a Roof: How California Can End Youth Homelessness, Shahera Hyatt, California Homeless Youth Project (January 2013).
    This strategic action plan provides policy solutions to address youth homelessness in the state and recommends action steps both informed by and targeted to state and local policymakers, service providers, and government agencies. It was commissioned by Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) and aims to align California with Opening Doors, the federal strategic plan to end homelessness.
  • Voices from the Street: A Survey of Homeless Youth by Their Peers, Nell Bernstein and Lisa K. Foster (CRB-08-004, March 2008).
    To shed light on this group of hidden and vulnerable young people, CRB conducted a survey in which homeless and formerly homeless youth completed over 200 interviews with their homeless peers across the state. The youth interviewed describe their experiences – how they became homeless, what life on the street is like, their interactions with police, their education and aspirations, their mental health experiences, how they go about getting help and the services they need, and the changes they would like to see happen in policy or law. This report received the 2008 National Conference of State Legislatures Notable Documents Award for Innovative Study.
  • Voices from the Street: Homeless Youth Speak Out on State Policy (2009).
    This 30 minute video presents the major findings of the HYP survey and the policy recommendations generated at six seminars held in Sacramento in 2007-08. Young people, adult experts, researchers and service providers discuss the issues related to youth homelessness.


The following material developed through the HYP is listed chronologically, most recent first.

  • Emergency Housing, Food, & Financial Resources for Undergraduates at California's Public Colleges and Universities, February 2020. This resource guide helps college students and the faculty and staff who support them find emergency food, housing, and financial resources at 82 public colleges and universities in California. It is based on findings from our recent report, Measuring Our Success: Campus Supports for College Students Experiencing Food & Housing Insecurity.
  • Measuring Our Success: Campus Supports for College Students Experiencing Food & Housing Insecurity, Nancy LePage (September 2019). This report examines basic needs resources on California Community College, California State University, and University of California campuses. Resources include year-round student housing, emergency housing, emergency grants, short-term loans, food resources, and advisors and programs for foster youth and students experiencing homelessness.Based on information collected from campus websites, phone calls, and emails with staff, this report illuminates what is being done well and what opportunities exist to better support struggling college students.
  • Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness: Perspectives from California's Community Colleges, Shahera Hyatt, Nancy LePage, Alexis Piazza (April 2019). This report details key findings and recommendations based on a survey of College Homeless Liaisons at California's community colleges. It is a collaborative effort of CHYP and the ACLU Foundations of California.
  • Supporting California's Homeless & Low-Income College Students: A Practical Guide, California Homeless Youth Project and Schoolhouse Connection (November 2018) provides timely, concise overviews on the top 5 needs of homeless and low-income students at the California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and Universities of California as reported by college homeless liaisons. The guide also highlights existing resources and methods to support the success of at-risk student groups.
  • Pushing Back Against School Pushout: Student Homelessness and Opportunities for Change, Emily Herr, Samantha Bielz, Shahera Hyatt (September 2018). This issue brief examines the literature to reveal the intersection between student homelessness and the school-to-prison pipeline and offers alternatives for policymakers, service providers, and school personnel.
  • Resources Supporting Homeless Students at California's Public Universities and Colleges, Nancy Au, Shahera Hyatt (April 2017). This research examines the supply of campus resources including mental health, child care, student programs, housing, food assistance, and transportation at 50 CCCs, 9 UCs, and 23 CSUs campuses. The report concludes with recommendations for improving higher education access for students experiencing homelessness and increasing capacity for data collection.
  • We Count, California!: Lessons Learned from Efforts to Improve Youth Inclusion in California's 2015 Point-in-Time Counts, Jessica Lin, MPH; Laura Petry, MSW; Shahera Hyatt, MSW; Colette Auerswald, MD, MS, (September 2015).
    In it, we highlight promising practices for counting unaccompanied minors and transition-age youth (TAY) experiencing homelessness and share a look at the latest figures from communities' 2015 Point-in-Time counts across the state. In the 2015 Point-In-Time (PIT) count, 11,365 unsheltered, unaccompanied children and youth were found in California, residing in a place not meant for human habitation on the night of the count. This report identifies many challenges at the local, state, and federal level and offers solutions based on input from youth, service providers, education liaisons, and Continuums of Care across the state. More information can be found in the full report and on kidsdata.org.
  • Adding Insult to Injury: The Criminalization of Homelessness and Its Effects on Youth, Shahera Hyatt, Jessica Reed (September 2015).
    This brief explores the laws that penalize people experiencing homelessness for performing life-sustaining activities (i.e. sitting, standing, and sleeping), and the challenges that California's homeless youth face as a result. Policy recommendations in the report highlight perspectives shared by researchers, service providers working with young people experiencing homelessness, law enforcement agencies making strides toward employing alternatives to criminalization, and the community most impacted by these laws: homeless youth. To hear directly from the young people themselves, check out this series of short videos of youth talking about the criminalization of homelessness, how it impacts them, and their ideas for change.
  • California's Homeless Students: A Growing Population, Shahera Hyatt, Brynn Walzer, and Patricia Julianelle, (September 2014).
    This brief identifies what we know about the size of California's homeless youth population in the educational system and provides statewide data on the numbers of homeless youth by county and legislative district. The brief concludes with recommendations for improving educational success for homeless students and suggests ways to increase state and local capacity for data collection.
  • HIV & Youth Homelessness: Housing as Health Care, California Homeless Youth Project (February 2014).
    This policy brief highlights ways in which addressing housing instability could decrease HIV infection rates among homeless youth by providing an environment to address health care needs, improve mental and physical health, and decrease engagement in HIV-risk behaviors.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: An Assessment of Youth Inclusion in Point-in-Time Counts of California's Unsheltered Homeless Population, Colette Auerswald, Jessica Lin, Laura Petry, and Shahera Hyatt, (April 2013).
    In this report, California Homeless Youth Project outlines the challenges and successes communities across California have had in counting homeless youth during the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Point-in-Time count. The report highlights best practices for counting unaccompanied minors and transition aged youth experiencing homelessness. For a brief overview, see the Executive Summary.
  • Comparing White and African American Homeless Youth in San Francisco: Research Findings and Policy Implications, Colette Auerswald and Ginny Puddefoot, (October 2012).
    This brief examines research from the UCSF School of Medicine and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health on white and African American homeless youth and offers recommendations for policymakers.
  • A Toolkit for Counting Homeless Youth, Mark Silverbush and Shahera Hyatt, (June 2012).
    The toolkit includes principles for successfully counting youth, how to mobilize for support, and elements to include during the planning phase of a count. It is based upon the experiences of the the Continuum of Care in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
  • Sexual Exploitation and Homeless Youth in California: What Policymakers Need to Know, Shahera Hyatt & Kathryn Spuur, (May 2012).
    This HYP special topic report explores the intersection between homeless youth and sexual exploitation, highlights legislation in California aimed at addressing the problem, reviews efforts underway in Alameda County, and offers recommendations to assist policymakers in responding to this population.
  • California Experts on Youth Homelessness (November 2011).
    The following contacts are good resources for policymakers and others who wish to learn more about youth homelessness and hear from experts who work directly with homeless youth and have experience in related areas.
  • Struggling to Survive: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Homeless Youth on the Streets of California, Shahera Hyatt, (March 2011).
    This report highlights the challenges faced by LGBTQ homeless youth in California and offers policy recommendations designed to reduce disparities and improve the lives of these youth.
  • Programs Serving California’s Homeless Youth: Results of a Point-in-Time Survey (January 2011). A summary analysis of our findings of available programs serving unaccompanied homeless youth in California.
    • Programs by County (January 2011). A comprehensive statewide, county-by-county inventory of existing programs that specifically serve unaccompanied homeless youth.
    • Programs by Legislative District (January 2011). A comprehensive statewide inventory of existing programs serving unaccompanied homeless youth by legislative district.
  • Studies in the News, Special Supplement: Homeless Youth. (November 2010).
    This special edition of Studies in the News is in recognition of the first California Runaway and Homeless Youth Month. This supplement highlights the issue of youth homelessness through a collection of selected resources including reports, newspaper series, and audio and video presentations. Resources range from those just released to important overview material from 2007.
  • Estimating California's Homeless Population, Lisa K. Foster (October 2010).
    This report concludes that a reliable statewide estimate of the number – and characteristics – of unaccompanied homeless youth does not exist. It explains why it is difficult to collect data on this population and describes the specific federal and state sources that provide information. It also presents Action Steps for accomplishing this task.
  • National Experts on Youth Homelessness. (October 2010)
    This list consists of policy, legal, or research experts on youth homelessness at the national level.
  • Relationships Beget Relationships:  Why Understanding Attachment Theory is Crucial to Program Design for Homeless Youth, Dr. Toni Vaughn Heineman, (June 2010).
    This HYP Special Topic report explores how attachment theory provides useful insights about why homeless youth don’t easily accept the help and support that adults offer, and answers that help develop policies and programs to successfully address their needs.
  • Homeless Youth: Bibliography and Resources, Lisa K. Foster (CRB-08-010, July 2008).
    This resource document includes an annotated bibliography drawn from a wide range of academic and program-based research, agendas from CRB public policy seminars on a range of homeless youth issues held during 2007-8, and contact information for the seminar presenters.
  • Voices from the Street Youth Survey: Some Key Findings (Revised July 2010).
    This brief describes the key findings from the 2008 CRB report, Voices from the Street: A Survey of Homeless Youth by Their Peers.
  • The Educational Success of Homeless Youth in California: Challenges and Solutions, Patricia F. Julianelle (CRB-07-012, October 2007).
    Most homeless youth who are on their own are not in school. Yet the majority of homeless and formerly homeless youth recently surveyed by the California Research Bureau expressed the desire to return to school and have life goals that require extensive education to achieve. This report discusses key issues related to the challenges homeless youth face in achieving their educational goals. It describes federal and state programs and funding, identifies successful practices and model programs, and presents policy options that address these challenges.
  • Preparing Youth to Participate in State Policy Making, Lisa K. Foster (CRB-07-009, September 2007).
    Adding youth voices to the state policymaking process, and encouraging youth participation in developing the policies that directly affect them, can result in more thoughtful and effective legislation. This report presents information about how youth organizations currently prepare youth for their role in state policymaking. It shares the perspectives of state legislative and administrative policymakers on how youth can most effectively participate in this process, and describes how young people feel about both their preparation and participation.

CRB public policy reports can be downloaded from CA Research Bureau Reports at http://www.library.ca.gov/crb/CRBReports.html.