Quick Facts: West Virginia

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Performance Breakdown
  • Law & Policy: 55% of metrics met
     
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 42% of metrics met 
       

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 24% 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: 83% of metrics met 
       

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

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

State Score 2021: 51
State Ranking 2021: 29

2021 Score

2020 Score

51

54

West Virginia Highlights

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

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Law & Policy

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

  • The state explicitly 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).

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Systems​​

  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness.

    • The state plan has a "youth" component.

  • There is a state interagency council on homelessness.

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Environment​

  • 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 Mountain State, with emphasis on the Law & Policy and Environment categories. Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness, preventing homeless youth’s contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and protecting the rights and interests of LGBTQ youth should be prioritized.

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Law & Policy

  • Enact and fund a state law similar to the federal RHYA to provide key intervention and emergency services for youth experiencing homelessness.

  • Allow shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

  • The state should remove laws or regulations that prevent access to higher education for homeless youth.

  • The state should explicitly allow homeless youth to use SNAP to buy hot restaurant or prepared meals.

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Systems

  • As part of the state plan to prevent and end youth homelessness, include a strategy to address homelessness among 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 establish and maintain a stipended community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy (Youth Action Board). 

  • Promote safe and inclusive environments in juvenile justice programs by providing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • Ban harmful and ineffective service provision that includes conversion therapy.

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