Every year, 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness on their own–700,000 are ages 13 to 17, and 3.5 million are young adults ages 18 to 25. Serving these young people and helping them avoid or quickly exit homelessness is critical and is often incredibly challenging due to their legal status as minors. The American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness and Poverty (ABA) and National Network for Youth (NN4Y) have seen this issue repeatedly in our joint and separate work. 

In 2020 we launched a dedicated effort to learn more about legal issues surrounding unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness. This project was intended to guide both organizations’ ongoing work and advocacy and develop resources that can help the field better prevent and end homelessness among minors. 

This work is only a start. We will continue to work with communities across the country to address these issues to ensure that no young person has to experience homelessness. Age should not be a barrier to avoiding or quickly exiting homelessness. We hope that the information shared here will help you in our efforts on behalf of young people and invite you to connect with us to partner on this work.


  • Key issues and challenges for minors experiencing homelessness;
  • Strategies and lessons learned from advocacy for state minor consent to services laws (including questions to consider);
  • Legal issues and considerations relevant to host homes for minors;
  • Working towards equity while serving minors;
  • Child welfare and youth homelessness; and 
  • Additional legal and policy issues.