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Homeless Services

Housing Advocacy services assist youth in obtaining and/or maintaining stable housing. Services include:

  • Assistance in securing affordable housing.
  • Consumer education.
  • Budget counseling.
  • Linkages to community-based resources (i.e. assistance with utilities, clothing and food).
  • Follow-up services, for a minimum of three months after appropriate housing is secured.

Note: Housing Advocacy does not include any money.

Youth receiving housing advocacy services must meet all three of the following criteria:

  • Be at least 17 ½ and less than 21 years of age.
  • Be legally the responsibility of DCFS within six months of case closure, or have aged out of DCFS care; (Note: Youth that entered adoption or subsidized guardianship after their 14th birthday are also eligible.).
  • Have an income that is sufficient to meet rent and utility costs; or be working on obtaining that income. (While housing advocacy can begin before income is in place, it is extremely unlikely that youth will be able to secure housing without sufficient income. Housing advocates can often help with employment.)

For more information on YHAP, youth who were once in DCFS care should contact the YHAP coordinator at 312-328-2159. Read the Get Goal'd Handbook for more information on YHAP and other services DCFS offers to youth aging out of care.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care (CoC) organizations

Most homeless services, interim housing and emergency overnight shelters are organized by local CoC organizations. To find the CoC in your area, click here.


Emergency shelters are open 24 hours per day, seven days a week and provide an immediate place to stay, eat, and sleep. The length of stay varies by facility, but it is generally short-term. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a list of shelters in Illinois here.

Transitional shelters allow persons to stay in their program for up to 12 months. Guests work closely with a case manager who helps them connect with services they need to gain stability, locate permanent housing and ensure they have the means to keep that housing. The best way to locate an interim housing option is to contact your local CoC organization.

Homeless youth agencies

The Illinois Department of Human Services provides services to help youth who are homeless or to prevent youth from becoming homeless. These services include shelter, transitional living programs and outreach. Youth ages 14-20 can access services including case management, food, clothing, life skills training, education and job services. To find a provider near you, click here.

Need help or want to know more?

The Illinois Housing Handbook, available in English and en español, provides a wealth of information to help make obtaining and maintaining housing easier and less confusing, especially for first-time renters.