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Turning 21: Why Homeless Youth Need More Time in Youth Crisis Shelters

Read more about how we advocate to raise the age and extend the length of stay in emergency youth shelter.

When a young person turns 21, they are immediately ineligible for youth shelter services in New York City. Unfortunately, this means that if they are in youth shelter on their 21st birthday, they have to leave the day after.

What Happens Next?

Less than one percent of homeless youth leaving youth crisis shelter move into their own apartments with many returning to the street or other precarious situations.

The time is NOW to give young people more time to become stable and access the supports they deserve. Members of the New York City Council have introduced bills Intro. 1699-2017 and Intro. 1706-2017 to increase the age of eligibility for crisis shelter to 25 years old and increase the length of stay from 30 to at least 90 days. Safe Horizon urges the full City Council to vote on these important measures immediately.

Here is How You Can Help:

Sample Email to Support Homeless Youth

Copy and paste this email:

Dear [Insert Council Members Name]

My name is [Insert Name] and I am a constituent in your district. I am emailing you today to ask for your support of Intro. 1699-2017 and Intro. 1706-2017 which would increase the age of eligibility for youth crisis shelter to 25 years old and increase the length of stay from 30 to a 90 days, among other provisions.

So many homeless youth are fleeing violence and abuse at home—they need safe places to heal and become stable. Youth crisis shelters are literally lifelines for these young people. However, only giving them until their 21st birthday and 30 days is not nearly enough to address their many needs. Simply put, they need more time and you have the power to make that happen.

As your supporter, I am asking you to please vote yes on Intro. 1699-2017 and Intro. 1706-2017 and give homeless young people a real chance of thriving.


[Insert Name]