Training and Technical Assistance Overview

Collaborating for Change:
Addressing the Intersections of Youth Homelessness and Juvenile Justice

Training and Technical Assistance Overview


Each year, nearly 1 million young people become involved with law enforcement and/or the justice system.  In some cases, this involvement may be due to lack of shelter or other necessities. This can sometimes occur when a young person is arrested for a curfew violation due to lack of stable housing, or when they are arrested for theft for stealing food, or money to buy food.  In other cases, youth who are arrested and released (either through a diversion program or after spending time in a juvenile detention facility) may experience homelessness because they are either unable to return to their families due to restrictions imposed by landlords or public housing authorities, or because families are unwilling or unable to have young people return due to family conflict. Data indicates that this presents an urgent problem for young people:

  • One study of youth who had runaway or were experiencing homelessness in 11 U.S. cities found that nearly 44% had stayed in a jail, prison, or juvenile detention center.
  • In the same study, nearly 78% of participants had at least one interaction with the police, and nearly 62% had been arrested at some point in their lives.
  • A 2008 study found that 60 percent of youth experiencing homelessness had been fined for “quality-of-life offenses”—when they can’t pay the fines associated with these citations, many will be issued a warrant and ultimately arrested.
  • At least two studies of California youth found that 25% of youth exiting juvenile detention, group homes or foster care stayed on the street or in a shelter their first night out of the system.


This project will assist communities that have already been selected to take part in HUD’s  Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) and providing them with additional training and technical assistance related to the intersections between the youth homelessness and juvenile justice systems. Selected communities will receive supports in assessing their policies and practices related to the criminalization of youth homelessness, accessibility of diversion programs, situations where youth are court-involved but not detained and face housing instability because of family conflict, and ways to improve reentry planning for young people who are returning to the community from juvenile justice system involvement.

Structure and Composition: 

This opportunity is open to YHDP communities who have been awarded in any of the three rounds of funding (FY2016, FY2017, FY2018). Juvenile justice and youth homelessness professionals will work together (in selected communities) along with young people and training and technical assistance providers from the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.

Two to three (2-3) communities will be selected to:

  1. Receive a better understanding of how youth homelessness and juvenile justice intersect.
  2. Assess and understand how policies may be criminalizing young people experiencing homelessness and identify ways to provide more diversion opportunities.
  3. Strengthen reentry planning to reflect the newly-reauthorized Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the primary federal legislation related to juvenile justice.

Participating communities will also have an opportunity to collaborate with other participating communities to share lessons learned and challenges. Learnings from the project will be shared with the broader YHDP community through a white paper at the project’s conclusion.

General Responsibilities of Participating Communities:

Selected communities are expected to participate in all planning and preparatory calls, assist in recruiting key local stakeholders, and respond to informational inquiries from project staff and partners. They are also expected to attend and actively participate in a two-day session that will take place in their community in late 2019. During this session, members will learn about the intersections of youth homelessness and juvenile justice and work together to identify ways to address and end housing instability and the criminalization of youth experiencing homelessness. Communities will participate in follow up progress calls with their community, and with other sites selected to take part in the project.  

Benefits for Participating Communities:

Communities that are selected will receive an analysis of existing policies and procedures related to reentry planning for young people exiting the justice system, and laws that may inadvertently criminalize youth experiencing homelessness. Communities will receive a series of recommendations based on this analysis. Selected sites will also have the opportunity to participate in a local training to learn more about the intersections of juvenile justice and youth homelessness and to create an action plan for addressing and ending these intersections in their own community. Communities will have the opportunity for continued follow up assistance and support from project partners, as well as from other selected communities.  

Qualifications for Participating Communities

At a minimum, the ideal community will have the following experiences, skills, and qualities:

  • Has received an award from HUD for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program;
  • Includes a local or state government agency that has authority to make policy decisions regarding juvenile justice and/or youth homelessness;
  • An engaged leadership team that is committed to working with stakeholders in juvenile justice and youth homelessness to improve outcomes for youth;
  • Has an interest in and ability to address the juvenile justice system’s impacts on youth homelessness among young people ages 12-24;
  • Willingness to share information with allies in your community, and with other participating sites;
  • Has the ability to identify and convene key stakeholders, including leaders in the juvenile justice and youth homelessness fields;
  • Willingness and ability to actively listen and work in a diverse group;
  • Passionate about and committed to system reform.

Selection Process for Participating Communities:

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Application form including all short answers. NOTE: Incomplete applications will not be considered;
  2. Letter of interest expressing why your community would like to participate, including any relevant challenges regarding youth homelessness and juvenile justice that your community may have already identified.  

A webinar will be held at 3 p.m. Eastern on July 8 to discuss the project and answer questions from interested communities.

All materials must be submitted by Monday, August 5. Application packets should be sent to Laura Armstrong, CJJ’s Policy & Field Relations Associate, at Applications can also be faxed to (202) 887-0738, or sent by postal mail to 1319 F Street NW, Suite 402, Washington, DC 20004. An application may also be submitted online here.


If you have questions regarding the project, you may contact CJJ’s Executive Director, Naomi Smoot by email at or by phone at (202) 467-0864 ext. 113.