The first-of-its-kind study, funded by ACF’s Family & Youth Services Bureau and conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, focused on 873 youth ages 14 to 21 in 11 cities. Respondents included street youth receiving services from ACF’s Street Outreach Program grantees and street youth who were not currently using services from SOP grantees.

The study found the following:

• The average youth spent nearly two years living on the streets.

• More than 60 percent were raped, beaten up, robbed, or otherwise assaulted.

• Nearly 30 percent of participants identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, and nearly 7 percent identified as transgender.

• About half of youth had been in foster care and youth with a foster care history had been homeless for much longer (27.5 months on average) compared to youth who had never been in foster care (19.3 months, on average).


More than half of respondents also needed a safe place to stay, help with education, access to laundry facilities, a place to study, rest, or spend time during the day, and a phone.