Quick Facts: Illinois

​​​​Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 66% 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: 67% 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: 33% of metrics met 

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 72% of metrics met 

  • Systems: 44% of metrics met 
  • Environment: 65% of metrics met

State Score 2021: 62
State Ranking 2021: 13

2021 Score

2020 Score



Illinois Highlights

Some areas where Illinois has moved the needle relative to other states include providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and allowing them to access critical supports and services.


Law & Policy

  • The state doesn’t consider running away a criminal offense.

  • The state allows shelters to take in homeless youth with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

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

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



  • The state provides tuition waivers for foster youth.

  • Youth can gain access to a state-issued identification card without parental consent in certain circumstances.



  • The state maintains a community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy.

  • The state establishes protected class status based on one's sexual orientation and gender identity for runaway and homeless youth programs.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Prairie State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness should be of importance, and protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.


Law & Policy​

  • The state should explicitly allow partial and alternative school credit accrual for homeless youth through regulations.



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

  • Create a state entity – such as an Office of Homeless Youth Services –  that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.

  • Create an Interagency Council on Homelessness that mirrors the United States Interagency 
    Council on Homelessness (USICH), providing a multi-sector approach to preventing and 
    ending youth homelessness.



  • 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.

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