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New Report on the Health and Well-being of Homeless Teens


On March 13, the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness (ICPH) released More Than a Place to Sleep: Understanding the Health and Well-Being of Homeless High School Students. The report uses data from the Centers for Disease Control’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to explore differences in risk behaviors and health outcomes between high school students experiencing homelessness and those who are housed.

The ICPH study demonstrates that teens who experience homelessness have unequivocally worse health outcomes than housed teens – outcomes that threaten their lives and jeopardize their ability to finish school and transition to a stable adulthood. For example:

  • Over 40% of homeless teens struggle with depression, a rate 12 percentage points higher than their housed peers (29%).
  • Homeless teens consider suicide more often, and are three times more likely to attempt suicide than housed teens (20% versus 6%).
  • Nearly one in four homeless teens has been forced into unwanted sexual activity by someone they are dating, three times higher than the rate for housed teens (23% versus 8%).
  • Homeless teens are three times more likely than their housed peers to have been deliberately hurt by someone they are dating (25% versus 8%).
  • Homeless high school students are more than twice as likely than their housed peers to go to school hungry. In the past seven days, 33% of homeless students did not have breakfast compared to just 14% of housed students.


Source: SchoolHouse Connection. (2017). New report on the health and well-being of homeless teens.