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Connecting Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness to Social Security Disability Benefits

This issue brief, developed by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, explores how use of the SOAR model can increase access to income and health insurance, facilitate housing stability, and support unaccompanied youth pursing education and vocational goals.

Issue Brief Overview

The 2019 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Point-in-Time Count found that over 35,000 unaccompanied youth were experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness at a single point in time in January 2019.*  Studies show that youth who identify as black or multiracial and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (or Queer) (LGBTQ+) have the highest rates of homelessness.**
SOAR’s intensive engagement process and holistic approach to SSI/SSDI application assistance can be a critical support for unaccompanied Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY), particularly those experiencing intersectional identities, including black and other non-white youth and youth who identify as LGBTQ+.
* U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress: Part 1: Point-In-Time Estimates of Homelessness, by Meghan Henry, Rian Watt, Anna Mahathey, Jillian Ouellette, and Aubrey Sitler, Abt Associates. 2020,
**Matthew H. Morton, Amy Dwoarsky, and G.M. Samuels, Missed Opportunities: LGBTQ Youth Homelessness in America (Chicago: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, 2018),




Issue Brief
February, 2020

Other Details

Unaccompanied Youth