For over 45 years, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) has provided the foundation for American communities’ responses to youth and young adult homelessness.

Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, prevent trafficking, identify survivors, and provide services to runaway, homeless, and disconnected youth. Through the excellent work of local street outreach, shelter, transitional housing, and maternity group homes, RHYA helps youth experiencing homelessness access education, employment, personal savings, and family reconnection services.

In a typical year, 4.2 million young people experience homelessness in America. Specific subpopulations of youth and young adults face a higher risk for homelessness.

  • Black youth face an 83% increased risk than their white peers.
  • Hispanic youth face a 33% increased risk.
  • LGBTQ youth were more than twice as likely to have experienced homelessness.
  • Young parents—especially unmarried—had a three times higher risk than non-parenting peers.
  • Youth with experiences of foster care, juvenile detention, jail, or prison.
  • Youth who do not complete high school are 3.5 times more likely to experience homelessness than peers who completed a high school diploma.

Read more about factors that contribute to youth homelessness. 

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased child and youth homelessness due to high unemployment, unstable living conditions, and job insecurity. As a result, some RHYA providers have seen their waitlists double.

Fast Facts

  • Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs have been chronically underfunded
    since their inception, despite these programs costing less than other systems that many
    youth experiencing homelessness encounter.
  • FY 23, Congress should appropriate at least $300 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) program
  • The 117th Congress should pass the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA) to reauthorize this vital program.

Your support helps our advocacy efforts to create pathways towards independence & success for youth experiencing homelessness.