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Systems Modeling To Help Reduce Youth Homelessness in Indiana


  • Indianapolis needed to plan for its homeless population.
  • Abt conducted a homeless system modeling exercise.
  • Stakeholders are using the study to improve the system.
The Challenge

Every five years, the city of Indianapolis publishes the Blueprint report, a roadmap for its efforts to address homelessness, which include addressing the unique needs of youth and young adults. Those involved in preparing the report for 2018-2023 wanted to further examine:

  • Who experiences homelessness in Indianapolis?
  • What types of housing and services are available, and what types of housing and services most effectively serve various populations?
  • For each type of intervention (e.g., rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, etc.) how well does the current distribution address the need.
  • How many beds or units are needed to effectively end homelessness?
The Approach

The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) engaged Abt to model the optimal system for homeless youth and young adults (YYA). We partnered with local stakeholders to analyze data on system usage before developing inventory recommendations for various household types and subpopulations. We worked closely with a youth strategic planning committee to plan and model for unaccompanied youth (age 13-17) and parenting and single young adults (age 18 -24) with children of their own.

The Results

Our work has yielded several benefits:

  • Stakeholders have a framework to guide the allocation of state funds and to engage public and private funders.
  • The modeling report provides a roadmap for local staff who are working with homeless YYA.
  • Local stakeholders have used the results to reallocate resources in their community, and can redesign programs to align with the vision of the youth system.
  • The framework is in place to strengthen work with partners, like the university and community college systems, and generate more accurate estimates of YYA homelessness.

Click the image below to download a PDF:

indy youth homelessness infographic