Quick Facts: Pennsylvania

​​​​​Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 46% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 33% of metrics met 
       

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 52% of metrics met 
       

    • Providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently: 75% of metrics met
       

    • Addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness: 17% of metrics met 
       

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 44% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 72% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 12% of metrics met

State Score 2021: 45
State Ranking 2021: 43

2021 Score

2020 Score

45

33

Pennsylvania Highlights

Some areas where Pennsylvania has moved the needle relative to other states include creating and adopting a public plan to end homelessness that includes youth and LGBTQ+ youth. 

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Law & Policy

  • The state allows youth in foster care to access extended foster care services to age 21 under certain circumstances and allows youth who have exited the foster care system after 18 to re-enter through the age of 21.

  • The state does not consider running away a criminal offense.

  • The state gives minors some contract rights

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Systems​​

  • There is an interagency council on homelessness.

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Environment

  • Ending youth homelessness is a goal at the Executive branch.

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

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Keystone State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently, and protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.

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Law & Policy

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

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

  • Allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health. insurance coverage on their own.

  • The state should establish a process for emancipation.

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Systems

  • The state should create and adopt 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.

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Environment

  • 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.

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

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