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Transitional Living Program Fact Sheet

Published: September 30, 2020

Issue History

Each year, thousands of young people in the United States run away from their homes, may be asked to leave their homes, or become homeless. Since 1975, the U.S. government has funded emergency shelter programs for runaway and homeless youth to provide for their immediate needs and promote family reunification. Unfortunately, many homeless young people under the age of 18 cannot return home.

In order to address the needs of older youth, Congress created the Transitional Living Program for older homeless youth as part of the 1988 Amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to address a growing need for long-term, supportive assistance that emergency shelter programs were not providing youth. The Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) funded the first transitional living programs in 1990.

Program History

The intent of the FYSB-funded Transitional Living Program is to provide a temporary safety net and strong emotional support system for young people to transition into self-sufficiency.

FYSB’s Transitional Living Program provides grants to public and private organizations for community-based, adult-supervised group homes, family homes, and scattered site apartments for youth ages 16 to under 22 years who cannot safely live with their own families. Services are provided for up to 540 days in most cases, with longer stays available for young people who turn 18 while in housing.

Transitional living programs helped over 2,080 homeless youth transition to life on their own in Fiscal Year 2018.

Services

Services offered through the Transitional Living Program are designed to help young people who are homeless transition to self-sufficient living. Grantees are required to offer the following services, either directly or by referral.

Outreach Plans

  • FYSB requires grantees to incorporate a positive youth development (PYD) framework and a trauma-informed care (TIC) approach, which suggest that the best way to prevent risk and trauma is to help young people achieve their full potential. Youth development strategies focus on leadership, skill-building, and community involvement.

Service Coordination Plan

  • Referral of homeless youth to social services, law enforcement, educational services, vocational training, child welfare, legal services, health care programs, affordable child care, or child education programs

Extended Residential Shelter

  • Group homes
  • Maternity group homes
  • Host family homes
  • Supervised apartments

Transitional Living Plan

  • Transition plan from supervised participation to independent living or another appropriate living arrangement
  • Money management, budgeting, consumer education, use of credit
  • Parenting skills (Maternity Group Homes program only)
  • Basic life skills resources, counseling services, and aftercare services
  • Interpersonal skill-building
  • Educational opportunities, such as GED preparation, post-secondary training, and vocational education
  • Job attainment skills
  • Mental and physical health care
  • Individual, family, and group counseling, as appropriate
  • Coordinate with McKinney-Vento school district liaisons to ensure that runaway and homeless youth are provided information about the educational services
  • Develop an adequate emergency preparedness and management plan

Grant Award Process

FYSB funds the Transitional Living Program under the provisions of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-415), most recently reauthorized by the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (Public Law No: 115-385). As of FY2020, FYSB funds 239 Transitional Living grantee programs totaling more than $44 million.

FYSB solicits applications for the Transitional Living Program by posting funding announcements on Grants.gov and the funding page for the National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families. Applications are competitively reviewed, and successful applicants receive three-year grants.

Contact Us

National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families
4340 East-West Highway, Suite 1100
Bethesda, MD 20814
Telephone: (833) GET-RHYi (833-438-7494)
Fax: (301) 828-1506

Online:
Email: GetRHYi@NCHYF.org
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Facebook

Last Reviewed: September 30, 2020

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