Youth Continuum Works to End Youth Homelessness

The area's lead agency for at-risk and homeless youth plans to open a new shelter in 2022.

When teenagers become homeless, they have few places where they can turn for help. Most social safety net programs are designed for families with children or adults, leaving young people who are on their own particularly vulnerable to hardship, exploitation and trauma. The problem is particularly acute among LGBTQ+ teens, who experience a significantly higher risk of homelessness.

New Haven-based Youth Continuum has stepped into this service gap for more than a half-century, now supporting 1,000 – 1,500 at-risk youth with opportunities to secure housing, as well as a range of health, education and other services. By the spring of 2020, it plans to open the first shelter in the region specifically designated for homeless teens and young adults up to age 24.

y2y shelter exterior
The planned new Y2Y homeless youth building at 924 Grand Ave. New Haven.

During the height of the pandemic, the agency was able to continue working to help homeless youth get and stay in housing, supported in part by a $180,000 multi-year grant from The Community Foundation that began in 2020. The agency also continued with its plans to open a student-run overnight shelter in the spring of 2022.

The new shelter will be run by Y2Y, a collaboration of youth and staff from Youth Continuum, student leaders from across New Haven and the Y2Y Network, which developed the country’s first student run homeless shelter in Cambridge, MA. When completed, the New Haven shelter will have 20 beds. The Community Foundation supported Y2Y with a $65,000 grant in 2019.

y2y interior
The interior of the planned shelter

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Did you know?

There were an estimated 7,823 youths in Connecticut who would experience homelessness or housing instability during 2020; 1 out of 5 respondents struggling with housing identified as LGBTQ+. Source: CT Coalition to End Homelessness