Quick Facts: Rhode Island

  • Law & Policy: 42% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 8% 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: 88% 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: 33% of metrics met 
       

  • Systems: 72% of metrics met 
     
  • Environment: 18% of metrics met

State Score 2020: 43

State Ranking 2020: 35

Rhode Island Highlights

Some areas where Rhode Island has moved the needle relative to other states include providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently and enacting a multi-sector approach to ending homelessness.

Law & Policy

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

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

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

Systems​​

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness.

    • The state plan has a "youth" component.

Environment

  • None.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement across categories in the Ocean State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness and preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems 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 explicitly allow unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage without parental consent.

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

Systems

  • 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.

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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True Colors United & National Homelessness Law Center
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