Homeless and Runaway Youth Receiving Services at Federally Funded Shelters

HRD-90-45: Published: Dec 19, 1989. Publicly Released: Jan 16, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO analyzed the characteristics of homeless and runaway youth served by federally funded shelters.

GAO found that: (1) from October 1985 to June 1988, shelters served 44,274 youth, about 9,000 of which were homeless; (2) homeless youth were a diverse group facing many personal and family problems; (3) shelters provided such essential services as counseling, meals, transportation, some health care, and referral to other services, but were not able to address long-term needs; (4) after receiving care, about one-third of homeless youth return to their parents, one-third move into institutional arrangements, such as foster care homes, and one-third move into unstable living arrangements; and (5) very few of the homeless youth left shelters for independent living programs, which may be unsuitable for those under 16 years old and those with drug and alcohol abuse or other severe problems.

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