Homeless Adolescent Parent Discovery Project
In 2012, homeless young parents (age 21 or younger) accounted for 29% of all homeless youth in Minnesota. Family Housing Fund’s Visible Child Initiative launched a discovery project to understand the needs and status of homeless adolescent parents and their children. This report summarizes the project findings and recommends a) better supporting front-line staff who work with homeless youth and their children and b) increasing housing opportunities for adolescent parents under the age of 16.
Through a series of interviews with service providers and focus groups with homeless or formerly homeless adolescent parents, Family Housing Fund learned that safety, stability, education, and employment were key goals for homeless young parents. Housing was discussed by both groups as one component of stability. Shelters and supportive housing were not designed for—and often did not accept—adolescent parents. Often, they were too young to meet the requirements for services intended for homeless families, while simultaneously being ineligible for services for homeless youth because they had children of their own.
Family Housing Fund advocated for improved cross-system collaboration in partnerships with providers to promote positive parent-child outcomes, improve safety of parents and children, and protect the rights of adolescent parents and their young children.