Homeless Youth Programs

At YOS, we offer services to homeless youth aimed at boosting their safety, well-being, and self-reliance.

Did you know that there are around 1,500 young people experiencing homelessness in Chicago at any given time? In Illinois, there are nearly 26,000 homeless youth, and every year, 14,000 youth are reported as missing or runaways in Chicago. Many of these kids have been pushed out of their homes or run away due to abuse, neglect, and crises, and they need a stable environment in which they can thrive until reunited with their families or able to live on their own. Without support from their families, mentors, and communities, homeless and runaway youth face significant challenges such as low academic achievement, imprisonment, substance abuse, exploitation, and gang involvement. Unfortunately, it takes an average of six months for a unit to become available, causing many young people to lose touch with the system. To meet this need, YOS provides safe housing, encouragement, and the support youth need to succeed for up to 18 months. That’s why we’re committed to helping young people move into housing more quickly, and we need your support to achieve this goal.

Who is Eligible?

  • Youth between the ages 16-24 (must be at least 17.5 years old for the transitional living program)
  • Youth must be non-wards of the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services.
  • Serves youth and families throughout Cook County.

The Transitional Living Program (TLP)

The Transitional Living Program (TLP) is designed to provide assistance to young adults between the ages of 17.5 and 24 who are involved in the child welfare system and are pursuing their high school education or GED. These individuals are referred through the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS). At TLP, our staff offers 24-hour supervision to ensure that each youth acquires the necessary life skills to pursue higher education, find a career, and successfully transition into adulthood.

The Transitional Living Program is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.

YOS Homeless Youth Program Managers take an active role in the lives of youth, offering help in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Arranging for emergency/temporary housing for up to 4 months.
  • Providing safe housing and care for up to 18 months.
  • Outreach and case management.
  • Remaining a helpful resource for young adults living on their own, answering their questions.
  • Offering life skills education, including nutrition, personal finance, and household maintenance.
  • Supporting academic and career goals.
  • Finding and accessing needed services such as medical care or counseling.
  • Enrolling in educational or vocational training programs.
  • Exploring employment options and job skills such as resume writing and interviewing.
  • Budgeting and money management skills.
  • Life skills such as cooking and household management.
  • Social-emotional skills such as conflict resolution and anger management.
  • Identifying connections to community resources, such as support groups, schools, and churches.
  • Reunifying with family members when possible.
  • Successful transition to independence.

All YOS Homeless Youth Program Managers complete state licensing and training requirements, as well as participate in ongoing training to expand their ability to meet the needs of the youth they serve.

Youth Outreach Services accepts referrals from a variety of sources, including schools, community groups, individuals, and youth themselves

Contact Us!

For more information or to make a referral, contact the Homeless Youth Program Manager, Mario Hardiman, at YOS main number (773) 777-7112, the direct line (773) 205-4550, or send an email to marioh@yos.org. This number also serves as a 24-hour emergency line.