Chapin Hall released Missed Opportunities: Pregnant and Parenting Youth Experiencing Homelessness in America. This research underscores the inextricable connection between youth and family homelessness: family homelessness as a precursor to youth homelessness, and youth homelessness as a precursor to family homelessness.

Among the findings from this brief and previous Chapin Hall research are:

  • Young adults experiencing homelessness are disproportionately parents. In the national survey sample, 43% of 18- to 25-year- old young women, and 29% of 18- to 25-year-old young men, reported having at least one child. By comparison, only 22% of young women and 14% of young men who had not experienced homelessness during the past year reported having at least one child.
  • About 1.1 million children have a young parent who experienced homelessness in the past year. A growing body of research shows that prolonged experiences of instability and trauma during early childhood can have lifelong adverse developmental consequences.
  • Pregnancy and parenthood may increase the risk of youth homelessness. Young parents—especially those unmarried—had three times the risk of experiencing homelessness compared to non-parenting peers. This is the second highest risk factor for young adult homelessness, second only to lacking a high school diploma or GED.
  • The majority of young adults (ages 18-25) interviewed had experiences of homelessness or housing instability that started in childhood or adolescence.Nearly a quarter of unaccompanied homeless youth had precursors in the context of family homelessness.

Simply put, youth homelessness cannot be solved in isolation from family homelessness, and vice versa.

As the brief powerfully states: “To prevent and end homelessness among youth in America, we must address the unique needs of pregnant and parenting youth who experience homelessness. Otherwise, we risk missing opportunities to ensure that pregnant youth, young parents, and their children have the resources they need to reach their full potential.”

Policymakers and practitioners must reckon with these complexities by bridging youth and family systems, and by putting prevention at the forefront to stop the flow into homelessness.

SchoolHouse Connection urges our network to read and disseminate Chapin Hall’s research, and work to implement their important recommendations.


  1. Early Childhood Education & Homelessness: Law, Policy, Practice, Research
  2. Upcoming Webinar: Child Care for Families Experiencing Homelessness: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead, Part 2
  3. Archived Webinars: Young Parents, Child Care, Sesame Street in Communities’ Traumatic Experiences
  4. Deeper Dives for Schools: Practical Strategies to Serve Young Children Experiencing Homelessness
  5. Childproofing Checklist for Housing and Homeless Service Providers

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