Addressing the specific needs of young people

During a single night it’s estimated that up to 50,000 young people may not have a place of their own to sleep. They sleep in parks, abandoned buildings, or stayed with friends and sometime strangers who offer a bed for a night. A large number of these young people have already experienced significant trauma in their lives, trauma that is compounded by the struggles of having to survive without a home and without a parent or guardian to care for them.

There is an increasing understanding of the complexity of youth and young adult homelessness and how it intersects with multiple identities and systems. Youth who experience homelessness are disproportionately youth of color, LGBTQ, living in poverty, undocumented, and involved in the foster care and juvenile justice system.

This complexity calls for a cooperative, comprehensive, youth-informed responses that meet the needs of this vulnerable yet resilient population.

In 2016, a group of advocates, researchers, young people, local, state and federal government agencies, youth providers, and philanthropists came together to form A Way Home America, a national initiative to build the movement to prevent and end homelessness among youth and young adults. A Way Home America (AWHA) is united behind one goal: Prevent and end homelessness among all youth and young adults. Ensure that homelessness among youth and young adults is rare, and if it occurs, experiences of homelessness are brief and one-time.

On June 3, 2016, A Way Home America (AWHA) officially launched at a briefing on youth homelessness hosted by the White House.


AWHA goals:

  • End homelessness for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth while on a path to end it for all youth and young adults.
  • Create a national movement, awareness and action to prevent and end YYA homelessness.
  • Develop increased alignment among YYA homelessness efforts—public policy, advocacy, research, practice, communications, and public and private funding.
  • Establish common measures of success and similar, aligned approaches to preventing and ending YYA homelessness at the local level.
  • Create measurable progress, as seen by reductions in the number of unsheltered youth, length of stay, and reductions in returns to homelessness.


The Melville Trust’s Role

The Melville Trust is a founding member and a funder of A Way Home America. For more information please contact Aimee Hendrigan, Executive Vice President: