Quick Facts: Alabama

Performance Breakdown

  • Law & Policy: 60% of metrics met 
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 50% of metrics met

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 29% of metrics met

    • Providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently: 100% of metrics met

    • Addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness: 83% of metrics met

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 78% of metrics met

  • Systems: 22% of metrics met
  • Environment: 0% of metrics met

State Score 2020: 43

State Ranking 2020: 35

State Highlights

Alabama has moved the needle relative to other states in addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness and providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently.

Law & Policy

  • The state has extended foster care to age 21 and allows young adults under 21 to opt back into services after exiting if needed.

  • The state gives minors contract rights OR allows them to enter into binding contracts for certain purposes (e.g. necessities.

  • The state allows partial and alternative school credit accrual for homeless youth through regulations.

  • The state explicitly allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage without parental consent.


  • None.


  • None.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for significant improvement throughout the metrics for the Yellowhammer State across all categories. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, crafting statewide plans to address homelessness that contains a youth- specific component, designating agencies to develop and enforce these plans, and protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.

Law & Policy

  • The state should pass a law that funds and provides oversight and regulation to youth homelessness services.

  • The state should decriminalize running away as a status offense. 

  • The state should allow shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.


  • The state should create a public plan to end homelessness that includes youth, and specifically LGBTQ+ youth.

  • The state should create an entity – such as an Office of Youth Homelessness Services – that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.


  • The state should establish and maintain a stipended community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy (Youth Action Board).

  • The state should require training about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, healthy sexual development or issues specific to LGBTQ+ youth for staff working in RHY Systems.

  • The state should establish nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ youth in youth homelessness services.

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Copyright © 2021
True Colors United & National Homelessness Law Center
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